NCSF on Twitter   Subscribe to the NCSF RSS Feed   NCSF Blog

Tips on Meeting with Elected Officials

Our legislators work for us. They want to know what we think about issues on the local, state, and national level. You can always write letters and should but actually meeting with your elected official is easier than you think.

 

Our legislators work for us. They want to know what we think about issues on the local, state, and national level. You can always write letters and should but actually meeting with your elected official is easier than you think.

 

What is a lobby visit?

 

A lobby visit is a meeting where you tell your elected representative what you think about a certain issue or bill. Whether it is a City Council Member or your Congressional Representative, as one of their constituents you can ask them to take action on an issue or legislation.

You can find the office of your local and national elected officials in your area. Some Members of Congress have more than one office in their congressional district, and permanent staff members are usually available for you to meet with.

 

Requesting Your Meeting

 

Make your request in writing and follow up with a call to the Appointment Secretary/Scheduler.

 

Suggest specific times and dates for your meeting

 

Let them know what issue or legislation you wish to discuss.

 

Make sure they know that you are a constituent.

    Prepare for Your Meeting

     

    Contact the NCSF to help you decide on your talking points, and get information that you can leave with your elected official.

     

    Decide who will attend the meeting. Bringing more than four or five people can be hard to manage

     

    Agree on talking points. Your goal is to make a strong case for your position, so don't disagree in the meeting. If a point is causing tension in the group, leave it out

     

    Plan out your meeting keeping in mind that time is limited. Decide who will start the conversation, and which points each person will make

     

    Decide what you want achieve. Do you want your elected official to vote for or against a bill? Do you want them to support your issue or oppose a restrictive ordinance? Ask them to do something specific.

     

    During the Meeting

     

    Be prompt and patient. Elected officials run on very tight schedules.

     

    Keep it short and focused. You will have twenty minutes or less with a staff person, and as little as ten minutes if you meet with your elected official. Stick to your talking points.

     

    Know your elected official's record on similar issues or legislation. Begin by thanking them for voting in support of your issues, and for taking the time to meet with you.

     

    Leave only a few pages of information that contain your main points. Include your contact information.

     

    Provide concise personal and local examples of the impact of the legislation or issue. This is the most important thing you can do in a lobby visit.

     

    You don't need all of the information on an issue. If you don't know the answer to a question, it is fine to tell the elected official that you will get that information. This gives you the chance to contact them again about the issue.

     

    Set deadlines for a response. You sometimes won't get a definitive answer at the meeting. Ask when you should check back in to find out what your elected official intends to do about your request. If you need to get information to them, set a date for when this will happen.

      After the Meeting

       

      Right after the meeting, compare notes with everyone in your group to confirm what the elected official committed to do and what follow up information you committed to send.

       

      One of you should promptly send a thank you letter for meeting with you.

       

      Follow up immediately with any requested materials and information.

       

      If the elected official or staff member doesn't meet the deadline for action you agreed to during the meeting, ask him or her to set another deadline. Be persistent, polite, and flexible.

       

      Let NCSF know what you learned during your meeting by e-mailing: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

       

      Meeting with your elected officials is the best way to demonstrate that there is a constituency for civil liberties in your district. It's easy to make a difference.

       

      Links

       

      E the People
      Access to over 170,000 government officials in 9,800 towns and cities. Write a letter, start a petition, research election candidates and more!
       
      Project Vote Smart
      Biographical details and contact information for over 13,000 candidates and elected officials
       
      Write Your Representative
      From the U.S. House of Representatives website
       
      U.S. House of Representatives
      Full contact information for our Congressmen
       
      U.S. Senate
      Full contact information for our Senators
      In the News

      In the News

      • Press Release - NCSF Marching Forward

        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE National Coalition for Sexual Freedom     Marching Forward: NCSF proactively advocates for sexual freedom   November 19, 2008 - NCSF is proud to be the only group in the country with a national mission committed to changing the political, legal and social environment for those involved with the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities. The new board of NCSF was voted in at the annual Coalition Partner…






        Tags: DSM Incident Response KAP Media Outreach EOP
      What is SM?
      Publications

      Publications

      • EOP Overview
        EOP Overview Mission Statement and a brief description of goals and presentations offered
      • Law Enforcement Field Guide to SM
        Law Enforcement Field Guide to SM The purpose of this brochure is to provide law enforcement with a basic level of understanding about adults whose sexuality and lovemaking includes consensual sadomasochistic (SM) activities, and to provide information to assist you when you encounter an SM event.
      • SM vs. Abuse - Leather Leadership Conference Statement
        SM vs. Abuse - Leather Leadership Conference Statement This brochure is intended to help law enforcement and social services professionals understand the difference between abusive relationships vs. consensual sadomasochism (SM).
      • Wallet Card
        Wallet Card (Word document) A pocket reference for dealing with law enforcement
      Presentations

      Presentations

      • Approaching Your Local Authorities
        Approaching Your Local Authorities The purpose of this presentation is to educate law enforcement, prosecutors, or other authorities about SM-Leather- Fetish and/or swing practices on behalf of a local group(s). …
      • Child Custody & Divorce: Considerations for Alternative Lifestyles
        Child Custody & Divorce: Considerations for Alternative Lifestyles The problems that arise in child custody disputes between spouses and partners create special concerns for members of the SM/leather/fetish/poly communities. In…
      • Doing SM Related Legal Research
        Doing SM Related Legal Research The law is interpreted – sometimes to our favor, and sometimes not.  For example, while the NCSF firmly believes that consensual SM activity between adults…
      • Event/hotel negotiation
        The purpose of this material is to assist SM/Leather/Fetish groups who are considering hosting an alternative lifestyle event. The goal in presenting this material is to assist in developing a…
      • Field guide for law enforcement
        The following is a handout prepared by The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom aimed at educating law enforcement on the realities of SM. The purpose of this handout is to…
      • How to choose an attorney
        Choosing a lawyer can be difficult, especially if you have to do it at the time you are arrested.  If at all possible, establishing a working relationship with an attorney…
      • Juvenile/CPS/Child Services for BDSM Parents
        Juvenile/CPS/Child Services for BDSM Parents The concerns that result from contact with local and state child welfare authorities are occasionally troublesome for members of the SM/leather/fetish/poly communities. It is often…
      • Life & Death Issues for the Alternative Community
        The purpose of this presentation is to acquaint members of the alternative lifestyle communities  with issues that may arise from the nature of their relationships both during life as well…
      • Police Interactions ? What to do when you deal with police
        Police Interactions ? What to do when you deal with police Your basic legal rights and responsibilities may not always be clearly defined by law enforcement officials. If stopped or…
      • Protecting Your Event
        Protecting Your Event There are many considerations organizers must contend with when planning a large event. Large events include educational and social conferences, leather contests, weekend play parties, vendor markets,…
      • Protecting Yourself Legally
        Protecting Yourself Legally Members of the SM/leather/fetish communities have always had some level of concern regarding the issues of privacy, discretion, and personal security. The Radical Right, employers, ex-partners, and…
      • SM Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues
        SM Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues It is important for SM/leather/fetish groups to have an understanding of the relationship between the SM community and law enforcement and of the…
      • Swing Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues
        Swing Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues It is important for swing groups and businesses to have an understanding of the relationship between the swing community and law enforcement, as…
      • The Alleged Domestic Violence Call
        The Alleged Domestic Violence Call It is important for SM/leather/fetish persons to have an understanding of the relationship between the SM community and law enforcement and of the numerous legal…
      • Traveling With Toys
        Traveling With Toys While there have always been security issues involved in travel, the current political climate, as well as new legislation, has changed the procedures used to achieve security,…
      • What is SM Presentation
        For detailed information about the content of this presentation, please visit What is SM?
      • Zoning for SM & Swing Groups and Businesses
        Zoning for SM & Swing Groups and Businesses Zoning and permit issues are commonly used as a tool of local governments when seeking a method to attack SM groups and…

      Request a workshop for your local
      community, event or group.

      Educational Outreach: We're Making a Difference

      • Over 20 different workshops available for presentation by trained professionals.
      • Over 400 EOP workshops presented across the country in the last 12 years.

      About Educational Outreach

      The Education Outreach Program is designed to help educate those inside and outside the community about important issues relevant to those who practice consensual BDSM, swinging and polyamory.

      Program Goals:
      • To assist SM-Leather-Fetish, swing and polyamory groups and communities in their efforts to educate themselves about issues that affect their communities and individual relationships
      • To provide law enforcement and other government authorities with information about alternative sexuality as appropriate
      • To assist alternative sexuality groups and communities in their efforts to educate and work with their local law enforcement and other authorities
      Contacts:

      EOP@ncsfreedom.org
      Or please complete the
      Presentation Request Form

      Help send our trained presenters to give important educational workshops.
      Join NCSF and help bring workshops to groups both inside and outside our communities.