The Process of Personal Lobbying

  1. Appointment: Set up an appointment with the legislator or with the legislative aide who handles the issue.  If you are a constituent, you are entitled to a personal appointment with the legislator, so work for that.

  2. Preparation: Know how the legislator has voted, and what the record shows about the legislator’s position.  If possible, learn how the legislator feels about other issues.

  3. Entering the Office: When you enter the office, state your name and organization clearly.  Smile.  Indicate with whom you have made the appointment.

  4. Greet Your Legislator: If your appointment is with the legislative aid or the legislator, greet him/her with a handshake and your name and organization.

  5. Beginning the Interview: Listen: At the beginning of the interview, be prepared to listen to what the legislator has to say.  If s/he is unsure of why you came, state your desire to learn why s/he votes the way s/he does.  What is the reason for supporting/opposing abortion rights?  Find out where the legislator is coming from – moral reservations?  Religious beliefs?  Constituent pressure?  Economics?  Discrimination/Fairness?

  6. Present Your Idea & Persuade: Once you have learned her/his position, address yourself to these points.  Use arguments, facts, polls, etc., to persuade.  Be emphatic, personal, and convincing.  Showing emotion is fine as long as it is not hostile and therefore negative.  If the person supports reproductive justice, find out what you can do to support.

  7.  What is the Critical Influence: Before you leave the interview, consider whether you have an understanding of the way in which you may influence this vote.  Ask the legislative aid (if s/he is supportive) who/what can get to the legislator.  Mail, contributor, doctors, clergy, spouse, defeat at polls?

  8. Thank You, Leave Material: As you leave, thank the person for her/his time.  Smile.  Give them some material to study and refer to, but do not burden them with too much

  9. Follow up with a thank you letter: Stating what you gained from the interview and reiterating your position and who you represent.


    Birddogging: “Birddogging” legislators at their public appearances reinforces other activities by reminding them that there are people behind the calls and letters.





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