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How to Organize and Conduct Effective Area Meetings with Local Legislators
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Small group meetings with legislators have a big impact. The goals include:

  1. Educating the legislators about the issues.
  2. Developing advocates from among the legislators.
  3. Strengthening the voice of psychology in your area.
  4. Gaining commitments from the legislators that they will support our legislative agenda.

Tips for a Successful Meeting

  • The best days to hold meetings with area legislators when the legislature is in session are Monday and Friday, when they are not in legislative meetings. When the legislature is not in session, the best days to hold local meetings are Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
  • The best time for meetings with legislators is 8a.m. – 9a.m or 9a.m.-10a.m. Remind your group members to arrive promptly so as not to keep the legislator waiting.
  • Select a place that can comfortably accommodate your group.
  • Try to select a meeting place that adds value to the purpose of the meeting: to educate, inform and expose a legislator to psychological services (e.g., psychologist’s office, mental health clinic, hospital or rehab center).
  • The meetings must be carefully thought out – beginning to end. You might want to:
  1. Extend an invitation to legislator(s) at least three weeks in advance of the meeting.
  2. Extend a written invitation to all prospective attendees at least three weeks in advance. Ask for confirmation of their availability to attend. Make sure the letters of invitation contain the date, time and place (with specific directions to the location, including parking instructions).
  3. Always invite someone from the Ohio Psychological Association.
  4. Invite the press.
  5. Make arrangements for a photographer to be there.
  6. Call the legislator(s) and prospective attendees (from whom you have had no response) to encourage them to attend.
  7. The presenters at the meetings should meet at least one time in advance of the meetings to thoroughly discuss (a) who will say what and (b) desired outcomes.
  8. Prepare a sign-in sheet (name, address, phone and e-mail).
  9. Prepare large-print nametags.
  10. Give a packet of information (agenda, relevant issue fact sheet) to all attendees.
  11. Have appropriate refreshments (i.e., coffee and doughnuts).
  12. Send thank you letters to all attendees if possible. At a minimum, thank legislators in writing for attending and again ask for their support of the bill.

Please let OPA know the results of your meeting and if you need us to do any follow-up.

Call us at 800-783-1983/614-224-0034.