Call Your Policymaker

Purpose

Policymakers expect to receive phone calls from the public.  This is one of the ways they can hear from their constituents and make informed decisions.

LaCAN action alerts may ask you to call your policymaker (as opposed to writing them) when a decision on a particular issue is being made within a very short time frame.

Preparation

  • Identify your policymaker.  Click here for your State Legislators.  Click here for Legislator contact information.  Click here for your BESE Member. Click here for a list of other key policymakers. 
  • Look up the office number of your policymaker.  While in session, Louisiana State Legislators can be reached through either the House switchboard (225) 342-6945 or the Senate switchboard (225) 342-2040.
  • Plan what you want to say.  A sample script is provided below for your reference. You should include your name, city/town of residence, issue or area of concern, and the specific action you would like the policymaker to take. 

Steps

  • Identify yourself. Let your policymaker know you are a constituent. Policymakers are much more likely to be responsive to the people who are responsible for keeping them in office.
  • Ask if this is a good time to talk.  If not, request a good time to call back.
  • Follow your plan.  Share briefly.  Then listen.
  • End with thank you.
  • Leave a message (if necessary). Sometimes policymakers are unavailable.  If this is the case, you may need to leave a message with his/her office staff or on a machine. Be polite because office staff can have influence in conveying your position. Your message should be brief and include your name, city/town of residence, issue or area of concern, the specific action you would like the policymaker to take, a phone number and the best time to reach you (should he/she have any questions).

Sample Script


"Hi. My name is Vicki Voter. I'm calling for Representative Roberts. I live at 123 Advocacy Avenue in your district."

If you get the policymaker, ask:  “Is this a good time to talk?” 

If not, ask:  “What would be a good time for me to call back?”  

If you get an answering machine, leave a brief message:  "I’m calling to urge your support of additional waiver slots for people with developmental disabilities in Louisiana. Many families, like my own, are waiting for services that they need now. Please call me at (225) 555-5555 if you have any questions.

Again, I request your support for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Thank you."



Follow Up

  • Stay in contact. If you were unable to answer a question during the initial call, be sure to call back with any new information.
  • Stay positive. Don’t be discouraged if your message is not returned after a couple of days; just call again.
  • Share your experience. Be sure to let your LaCAN Leader know the outcome of your call.

Etiquette and Other Tips

  • Be considerate.
  • Be brief and polite.

References

Connecticut Health Policy Project (n.d.). Calling a policymaker. Retrieved from http://www.cthealthpolicy.org/toolbox/legislative/calling_policymaker.htm
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