Talking with Legislators on the Phone

Important techniques for communicating with your legislators over the phone

  1. Always identify yourself as a constituent.
  2. Ask for the staff person who handles the legislative issue that you are calling about. For instance, if you are calling regarding prospective education legislation, you should ask for the staff person who handles the education portfolio, likely the Education Legislative Assistant (LA).
  3. If the staffer is unavailable, before discussing your legislative issue ask the person answering the phone if they would prefer to take a message or if they prefer that you leave a voicemail message for the relevant staff person.
  4. If the staffer is available, state the reason for calling clearly and succinctly. Provide a brief background about the legislative issue. A legislator deals with hundreds of issues, receives thousands of calls, and receives thousands of emails. They will not be familiar with everything. You are responsible for educating them.
  5. Include anecdotal information, if pertinent, to reinforce the issue of concern. Personal stories about how you, your family, or your colleagues may be impacted by the potential legislation will be beneficial to the legislator or relevant staff person in understanding the concern.
  6. Only address one issue during the call. It is often difficult for the person listening to take notes and follow your conversation. If you discuss more than one issue, the listener may become confused.
  7. Request that the legislator take action. Ask them to support or oppose the bill. For example, you may state, "I am asking the Congressman/Congresswoman/Senator to support/oppose Bill XYZ.” Lastly, ask the individual to convey your message to your Congressman/Congresswoman/Senator, ask for a response about the legislative issue raised in the call, and thank the staffer for their attention to the issue.