Oh Dog! Dear DeDe here! I know it’s usually me here on Sunday, but Jen has more to say about her adventures in lobbying, so I’m giving up my day to her. I hope you read on and are inspired!
One thing you may wonder is what people wear when they go lobby at the State Capitol. The legislators are in business clothes- suits or dresses. There were also some clergy in clergy attire. There were some folks dressed up really nice. Others wore business clothing. The folks from UT had all sorts of University clothing, including one guy in a suit jacket and orange pants!
So, what happened in my meetings? Let’s start first with my adventure in Representative Sparks’ office. I met Lori, who asked some questions I didn’t have the answers for. But she was so great, she not only found the answers for me, but showed me how to look things up online for myself (and emailed me links in case I forgot!). It was Lori that figured out my handout had the wrong bill number on it. She showed me online where the Primate bill was (not moving) and told me who I needed to talk to in order to find out if the bill would be going anywhere.
And what a blessing she was too, because my first experience with an elected official turned out to be a solo experience! I kept waiting for the others listed on my schedule to show, but none did. So at the scheduled time I walked into Senator Jim Tracy’s office, nervous but determined to be heard.
Senator Tracy was a nice man. He listened to me, and wanted my take on the bill. He also was knowledgeable about the macaque incident in Shelbyville (mentioned in yesterday’s post). I politely went over my talking points with him. And, thanks to Lori, I knew where the bill stood so I didn’t sound like I didn’t have a clue.
Here’s a few more things to keep in mind as you meet with your elected officials:
- Know how you want them to vote. Do you want a Yes or No vote? That’s important because you need to know how the bill reads to know the answer.
- Follow up with phone calls, emails or visits. Let your elected officials know you’re keeping up and are interested in the outcome.
- Consider donating to a Political Action Committee. There’s strength in numbers, and PACS provide just that. Here in Tennessee there are 600 PACs. One dedicated to supporting candidates that vote for humane animal laws is the Humane TN PAC. Don’t have much to give? It looks like alot more when it’s combined with other small donations. And candidates need more than just money. They need volunteers to help them get elected. You have more to give than you think.
- Remember, your elected officials represent everyone, not just you. A conscientious person may well want to vote with you, but must consider the will of all constituents. So give him or her a hand by helping to sell the bill. Give valid reasons to vote for the bill that will appeal to all. And then get out there and talk to others in the community and sell that bill (that’s where working with a group of like-minded people comes in real handy)!
OK gang, it’s time to get out there and do your part! Remember- they’re counting on us!