Legislative Visits

Communicate your needs!

Conducting a legislative visit is a strong way to communicate the position you hold directly to a decision-maker. It allows for lawmakers to get to know who you are and what you need. Legislative visits are conducted with the following things in mind:

  1. To provide education to legislators and their staff about your achievements and challenges

  2. To strengthen or initiate communication channels between legislative offices and your group

  3. To strengthen or initiate a personal relationship between the legislator, the legislator's staff, and your group

It can be a little intimidating to approach legislators or other policymakers (especially if you are doing so for the first time) - and that is okay. Just remember that they are human beings as well, and that they want to hear your needs. The three basic rules to approach legislators and any other influential person are: having a clear goal in mind before you initiate contact, approaching them on a personal level and speaking to them clearly about the advantages of offering support to you and the effects of not doing so.

To coordinate an awesome legislative visit feel free to use the following guidelines:

  • Keep legislative staff informed

    • Upon the visit, communicate with legislative staff regarding your intentions to host a visit with the legislator. Staff can help you target the issues for discussion before the meeting date and even give you information about the legislator before you meet him/her, in addition to advising who should attend the meeting. 

  • Identify the goals you have

    • Your goals should be specific and clear, and involve things that a lawmaker can actually do. Legislators have lots of things on their plate, and if your message is not clear nor accomplish-able, they might not want to spend a lot of time on you. (A typical leg visit does not exceed more than an half-hour in length.)

  • Coordinate the visit​

    • Call or drop by a legislator's office to see what dates and times work best for them. As soon as availability opens and it works with your schedule, secure acceptance. Make an agenda for the meeting in conjunction with the legislator's staff.

  • Information packets​​

    • Prepare an information packet that allows legislators to dig into the topic you will speak to them about​. Prepare them ahead of time, since some legislators prefer having informational packets 10 days prior to the visit. 

  • Follow-up​

    • After the visit, please follow up with the legislator. Send a thank-you note and mention your willingness to provide more information about the cause you discussed with them.​

***TIPS: Because legislative staff have considerable influence with legislators, it is equally as important to establish and maintain a good relationship with them as it is with the legislators in your district. If you develop an organized effort that keeps this in mind, you have a great chance of engaging in effective legislative advocacy. 

If you are talking to your legislator about tobacco policy, create an informational packet that you can share with them by accessing the documents on our "Materials" page. 

If a resident of Alameda County, look up your district here to know who your legislators are: