Today we have another guest post from blogger, activist, and Wellspring Living advocate Emily Laney!
Lobby Day is drawing closer; it’s exactly 2 weeks away! It’s exciting to think about all we will accomplish on that morning. If you haven’t already, go register with StreetGrace so you can get email updates as the day gets closer.
So far in our lobby day posts, we’ve discussed the following:
1. How to find out what district you live in and who your legislators are.
2. The importance of researching the issues you’re concerned about. For purposes of this blog, we’re talking about Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and general human trafficking.
3. After finding out who your representatives are, the importance of introducing yourself. If you have time, arrange a meeting with your elected officials to discuss the issues you care about. At the very least, send them an introductory email and tell them you’re coming to the capital for lobby day.
I’m continuously learning more about the lobby day agenda and the legislative priorities for the day, and I’m sure we will learn more as the day gets closer. But one important part of the lobby day experience is actually talking to your legislators, which is what we’ll discuss today.
After the initial press conference and instructions at Lobby Day, we will all walk across the street to the Capitol building to distribute materials to our elected officials. There are several ways you can get information to your elected officials on Lobby Day.
The first option is stop by their office. You can look up the exact location of your elected officials’ offices online. Some are located in the Capitol building, and others are in the buildings surrounding the Capitol. You can stop by your elected officials’ offices and leave the materials with his or her assistant. Or, if they’re in, you can sometimes quickly talk directly to your representative or senator.
Another option is to use the Page system in the Capital. If the House or Senate is in session, you can go straight through the main lobby to the main doors of the chamber. There, you can fill out a brief form that lists your name, the elected official you would like to talk to, and what you would like to talk to them about. You then will hand it to one of the ladies at the doors of the chamber. They will give the paper to a “Page”. Pages are a long-standing tradition in the Capitol. They are usually young people who volunteer their time. You will be introduced to your Page, and they will go give your message to your Senator or Representative. Sometimes your elected official is unable to come talk to you, but I usually have pretty good luck getting them to come out to talk to me. After they come out you usually will have a few minutes to share why you’ve come and what your concerns are.
Either method can work well and can be an excellent opportunity to reach out to your elected officials. But one way to better ensure that you are able to talk to your Senators and Representatives on Lobby day is to let them know you’re coming. That’s why number three on the above list is so important. Your elected officials won’t be terribly busy this early in the session, so with a bit of advance notice you can try to arrange a meeting. So if you haven’t already, send them an email telling them of your plans to come to the Capitol on February 7th
Let me know in the comments if you have any stories to share about reaching out to your representatives! We’ve got one more post to go before the big day, which will likely include more detail about what we’ll be discussing with our elected officials on February 7th.