Politics Should Be the Part-Time Job of Every Used Car Dealer
To make that letter or phone call more effective, here are some general DO’s and DON’Ts:
- Be Understanding -Try to understand the problems and pressures a legislator is under.
- Be Friendly – Stay in touch with the legislator throughout the year and contact them when you need a vote on a crucial issue.
- Be Reasonable – Recognize that the legislator is receiving different opinions from other constituents.
- Be Thoughtful – When your legislator votes to support you on an issue, regardless of whether you win or lose, commend and thank him or her for their effort.
- Be Realistic – The legislative process is one of compromise. It is a give and take process that most frequently results in compromise. Recognize that you may not achieve a full legislative loaf, and be ready to settle for less.
- Don’t Hint That a Certain Bill is Not Worthwhile – or that it may corrupt the people who are likely to benefit from its passage.
- Don’t Demand, Be Rude or Threatening – If your legislator disagrees with you on one issue, he or she may support you on another. That is the way the legislative process works – like it or not.
- Don’t Be Deceptive – Your legislator or the legislative staff will know soon enough if you have your facts straight or if you are trying to make your plea more attractive by shading the facts in your favor.
- Don’t Preach To or Pester the Legislator – Marshall your facts and make a clear, succinct, factual presentation. Be actual and factual.
- Don’t Assume A Rigid Or Uncompromising Position – Your legislator represents all of his or her constituents – not just you or your organization – and does not deserve your condemnation because he/she is unable to support your legislative issue. Remember, the legislative process is one of compromise.
If you contact your legislator by telephone, here a a few additional rules:
- If The State Legislature is in Session – call the Capitol office; if you make your call during a recess or on a weekend, call the legislator’s district office.
- Ask to Speak Directly to the Legislator – and say who you are and that you are his/her constituent. If the legislator is not available, ask to speak to the legislative assistant or aide.
- Identify Yourself – Again, mention your professional status, and again stress that you are the legislator’s constituent.
- With those Preliminaries behind you, state the purpose of your call – Cite the bill number, if you can. Explain how the proposed legislation affects you personally or the members of your organization, and why you support or oppose it.
- Simplify your Conversation – Discuss only one issue in each phone call.
Don’t Be Shy About Asking What the Legislator’s Position Is – In many instances, your legislator will thank you for your views and say the matter will be taken under advisement. However, if he/she expresses a position that is the same as yours, express your appreciation. If different, express your disappointment.
Finally, don’t consider that contacting your legislator is a frightening experience. Remember, he/she wants to hear from you. Your vote and your support are important to him/her to stay in office.