Becoming a Virtual Activist: How to Reach Out to Legislators
We understand the importance of the current defined benefit plan and why we should defend it. Now, we need our legislators to join us in support of the current plan. While the upcoming Regular Session is a shorter, fiscal session, we have already seen public notices. Every year, the House and Senate Retirement Committees consider bills that could have an impact on your benefits and/or the retirement system. They need to hear from retirees so they can make well-informed decisions.
Today, we break down the ways to reach out to your legislators and what you should say in a letter or phone call.
Before we get into the “how,” let’s talk about the “why.”
Why should you reach out to your legislators?
Ultimately, legislators represent YOU and want to hear from YOU. LRTA represents over 20,000 members, and we bring those 20,000 voices together to present a strong, unified voice at the legislature. But, legislators also want to hear from their individual constituents about why it is important that they vote “yes” or “no” on a bill. They need to understand the impact their decision will have and hear your experiences as a teacher and retiree so they can make the appropriate decision.
How do you reach out to your legislators?
There are a few ways to contact your Representatives and Senators. LRTA State Legislative Chair Clyde Hamner discusses different ways you can reach out to your legislators.
Click on the buttons below to download the resources mentioned in this video.
Whether you are writing a letter or picking up the phone, keep these points in mind:
Know your facts. Research and statistics will make your argument stronger and your conversation worthwhile.
Keep it concise. The conversation can brief (and may need to be). As you near the end of the conversation, thank the legislator for taking the time to listen and talk with you. Leave contact information for them to follow up with you.
Know when to fold ’em. If you are having a phone or in-person conversation and can sense the conversation is starting to get hostile, wrap it up, and try to end on a polite note.
Effective communication is a two-way street. When we want legislators to take action, we need to let them know. When they take the desired action, make sure to take some time to thank them (via email, letter, phone, etc.)!
When we come together as a unified voice, we make a strong impact. Taking an action like writing a letter or email can make a huge difference. LRTA is here to provide you with the resources to understand the retirement bills your legislators are looking at and the knowledge to reach out to them.