Home is Where the Heart is, or Why You Should be Meeting with Legislators in your District
It has been said “all politics is local”, and even policymakers at the highest levels of government are accountable to their constituents. From United States Senators all the way to a city council member, the most effective advocates often come from their home district. The best legislators take the concerns of their constituents extremely seriously. Those that don’t risk a serious challenge in their next general election, or even a primary.
When asked about the importance of hearing from constituents, Kelsey Cooper, State Communications Director for US Senator Rand Paul, said “Senator Paul and his staff are absolutely committed to ensuring every Kentuckian's voice is heard, whether it’s through in-person meetings, phone calls, letters, or emails. Many of the Kentucky specific issues and legislative action items on which Sen. Paul is currently working were brought to him by folks at his 150 town halls held across the Commonwealth last year or through regular meetings with our field representatives, so it really is important for Kentuckians to contact our office regarding issues affecting them or their communities.”
With this in mind, where better to advocate for your cause then back in the legislator’s home district? While not a replacement for meeting the legislative support staff, who often are more well versed in specific policy than even the member themselves, meeting in district can help to establish a vocal advocate for your cause.
Contacting the office of your member of Congress to set up a “reverse fly-in” during their recess periods is a great way to expose the member to your industry and provide them with valuable background information as issues germane to your field cross their desk. Given the demands of their schedules, it is important to look far ahead when scheduling these appointments. Agentis Management can be a valuable asset in this regard. Leveraging our experience in setting up exactly these kind of events, we can focus on the details while members of your association can concentrate on the issues in question.
When the legislature is in session and members want to raise an issue with their member of Congress, often the most direct route is to speak with a member of their Field staff. Establishing a relationship with members of the field staff is essential to insuring your issues stay top of mind. At the end of the day, your elected representatives are exactly that, your representatives. The skilled legislator engages with constituents and encourages them to contact their offices, and they weigh that input heavily in their decision-making process. Seizing the opportunity afforded to make your issue heard can single handedly make the difference between success and failure.