Arranging a Meeting with Your Legislator


Your goal is to meet face-to-face with your elected officials to ask for their support or opposition about your legislative issue. You want to use this short meeting with your legislator or their staff to make your point and to garner support for your stance on your issue. An in-person meeting is the most effective means of communication with a legislator and can directly influence the way a legislator votes or whether they will become a cosponsor on your bill.

Step 1: Contacting the legislator’s office

Call the legislator’s scheduler and explain that you would like to schedule a meeting with the legislator. Give the scheduler all of the pertinent details, including which individuals will be attending the meeting, the purpose for the meeting, the topic or prospective legislation that you intend to discuss, and when you would like to meet. You may want to follow up on your phone call by emailing your request with the details to the scheduler.

Remember to be polite and respectful when making the request. The scheduler is the gatekeeper, and you will want to stay in his or her good graces.

The scheduler may tell you that the legislator is not available. If that is the case, try to set up a meeting with the representative's staffer who handles the legislative issue. For example, if the proposed issue involves an educational concern, you should try to schedule an in-person meeting with the representative’s education legislative assistant (LA). In sum, you want to make sure to have a face-to-face meeting with the correct staff person.

Lastly, thank the scheduler for his or her time.

Step 2: Preparation for the meeting

Call or email the legislator’s office to reconfirm the meeting time and place and to ensure that the legislator or relevant staff person will be able to attend the meeting.

Read the background information on your legislative issue and know all its facets. Also, recall some of your own anecdotal information on the issue — the legislator will remember your personal story long after the meeting is over.

Prepare all individuals attending the meeting and coordinate your statements so that each person in the group has one or more points to raise during your presentation - or “pitch” - to the legislator. Make sure that all individuals attending the meeting with you are familiar with all aspects of the issue so that you can avoid any miscommunication with the legislator.

Prior to the meeting, compose a one-page document that contains a summation of facts on your legislative issue, the importance of the issue, the impact that the issue will have on the representative’s constituency, the reasoning for your support or opposition, and your "ask” — a brief statement respectfully requesting that the legislator support or oppose the prospective legislation. This leave-behind, one-page document is important to the legislator and their staff. It allows them to have a succinct synopsis of the issue and the effect any action could have.

Step 3: The meeting with the legislator

Be prompt and avoid being late for a meeting with a legislator. It would reflect poorly on you, your association, and the pending legislation. In the event that you may be late, please call the legislator’s scheduler to inform them of the situation.

Please note: The legislator, as your elected official, will want to help you.

Begin the meeting by thanking the legislator for his or her time and the staff’s willingness to work with you. Then begin your discussion with the legislator or relevant staff person by explaining the prospective legislation and emphasizing the reasoning for your support or opposition on the issue. It is also very helpful to explain how the legislation will impact you and your profession if enacted into law. Ensure that your attendees also have the opportunity to make their statements and points. Be sure to make your important points early in the meeting in case the legislator needs to end the meeting quickly.

It’s also important that you refrain from arguing, bickering, or interrupting other members in your group during the meeting. This behavior gives the legislator the impression that you are not united and that your group is unorganized. It is also disrespectful and may be viewed as unprofessional.

If the legislator asks you a question and you do not know the answer, inform him or her that you will get back to them with the specific information. Do not let it bother you; continue with your points. Once your meeting is over, research and find the answer to the legislator’s question. You can include the answer and any background material in your follow-up thank-you letter to the legislator. Always make sure that you follow up and provide the legislator with the information that he or she requests.

At the close of your meeting, always ask the legislator directly for their support or opposition on your prospective legislation. If you do not ask, you will not know the stance that the legislator intends to take on the bill. Expect the legislator to give a noncommittal response to your message. This may be the first time his or her office has had to focus on the issue, and the office will need time to gather information.

Let the legislator know you will follow up with an email, letter, or phone call.

Thank the legislator and staff for the meeting.

Step 4: Post meeting

Always send an email or letter to the legislator or relevant staff person to thank them for meeting with you. Your letter should reemphasize your main points, answer any questions or concerns the legislator posed, include any additional information requested, and include your “ask” for support or opposition.  


We wish you the best of luck in having a successful meeting. Please remember, legislators are elected to represent people in a particular locale, district, or state and are elected by voters; thus they want to hear from you and value your input!