In-District Lobbying Visits

What are In-District Lobbying Visits?
District Lobbying visits are visits by a group of citizens to their legislator or legislator’s aide. The visit usually concerns a specific issue and lasts about half an hour. It is important to coordinate visits with FWHC’s lobbyist (during legislative sessions), so please call the Feminist Women's Health Center’s office, if you are planning a visit.

How to Make a Visit
After you have recruited a group of three to six supportive, constituents, call your legislator’s district office (listed in the telephone book) and request an appointment. If you are unable to meet directly with the legislator, you should definitely accept an appointment with the aide. State approximately the number of people in your group, and your affiliation with the Feminist Women's Health Center.

When to Make a Visit
Lobbying visits are productive at any time, but especially before a specific vote is taken.

Who Can Make District Lobbying Visits?
You! Me! Anyone who is concerned and wants to demonstrate reproductive health and rights involvement can do so in one of the most effective ways possible. A lawmaker knows that a small group of people (3-6) in her/his office represents broad reproductive rights support in their community – especially if that group is varied (includes both sexes, professionals and non-professionals, young and old, etc).

Whom Do We Visit?
Both opposing and supportive legislators need to feel our presence. They need to know we monitor votes on this issue. There are volunteers who work during election time. The groups opposing reproductive health and rights are often very visible and persistent. We need to make sure the legislators know there are more supportive individuals than opposed and that we place priority on this issue.

What Should We Ask?
A list of questions tailored to the specific legislator should be prepared before a lobbying visit. FWHC can supply you with a voting record of the legislator you are visiting, and general information regarding her/his position. We can also send some helpful suggestions for effective lobbying techniques. However, it is important to remember that you are not supposed to be an expert lobbyist; you are a constituent with a point of view, that’s what counts.
If the visit is to a supportive legislator, you can discuss new approaches reproductive health and rights activists in your area are taking, and ask her/his opinion of these approaches. You can also ask what leadership role the legislator might take.
When visiting an opposition legislator, you’ll want to obtain more suggestions on meeting content, contact the FWHC office.

After the Visit…
One member of the group should take responsibility for writing a brief note to the legislator, which should include a reiteration of your point of view. The FWHC office would appreciate receiving a copy of the thank you letter and your own reactions to the visit. FWHC has Constituent Lobby Report Forms. Please complete one and return it to us for our records. District lobbying visits can produce valuable information that we can share with our lobbyist.



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