When’s the right time to reach out to candidates and legislators? NOW!

Photo by ribarnica
Photo by ribarnica

Write to the candidates! No really, right now is when they are trying to make an impression on you, and if they are smart, that means they are trying to figure out what matters to you. Let’s make it easy on them, shall we? Here is the list of candidates.  Here are some tips for individual advocates and non-profit organizations.

When advocating to candidates you should:

  1. Make sure you know what legislative districts you are in by checking here.
  2. View this chart to see what candidates are still running in your districts. You can write to just the ones in the area or you can write to as many as you like. They are learning about Oklahoma and that means they need to hear from you. (note that the list only includes Senate seats that are being contested in 2016. We will be adding the odd-numbered Senate districts shortly)
  3. Send a letter or an email the candidates running to represent you and very briefly introduce yourself. Tell them what you care about and why, and let them know what you are looking for them to do if they are elected. Be sure to be polite and assume that they are genuinely interested in making Oklahoma better.
  4. Ask them when might be a good time to meet with them and discuss your policy priorities. Most candidates will be happy to set up a meeting with one or more constituents, or they might invite you to a meeting that they already
  5. Make a list of questions to ask, being sure to include questions about how they plan to fix our structural budget deficit problems. You can find our sample candidate questions here.
  6. Practice telling your story so that each candidate can get a sense of who you are and what matters to you in under 3 minutes.
  7. Take notes on what your candidates have to say so you can follow up with them with a thank you note that reminds them of the things you hope they’ll prioritize if elected.
  8. If you find a candidate you  like, consider donating even a small amount of time or money to their campaign.  People tend to remember the folks who help them along the way.  Now is the time to establish yourself and/or your organizations as helpers and advisers for our future leaders.

Today, this very day, there are candidates running for office all over our state who have never heard your story and who may know little to nothing about the issues that matter to you. It turns out that this is a great time to help future legislators form their opinions. They need to hear from the people the represent before they have to start doing the hard work of representing.

We’ve all learned the hard way how difficult it is to advocate for what’s important to you in the last days of legislative session, right? Let’s get out ahead of the game.