Talking with Your Legislator on the Phone

Eight Important Techniques for Communicating With Your Legislator(s) Over the Phone

  1. Always identify yourself as a constituent. “Hi, this is John Q. Public, and I am from Lancaster.”
  2. Ask for the staff person who handles the issue that you are calling about.
  3. If the staffer is unavailable, before launching into your issue, ask the person answering the phone if they would prefer to take a message or if they would prefer you to leave a voicemail message for the staffer.
  4. If the staffer is available, state the reason for calling clearly and succinctly. Provide a brief background about the issue. A legislator deals with hundreds of issues and will not be familiar with everything; you are responsible for educating him/her.
  5. Create one or two talking points on the reason for your call. Include anecdotal information, if pertinent, to reinforce the issue of concern.
  6. Ask what the legislator’s position is on the issue. Don’t be surprised if they give you a vague answer.
  7. Only bring up one issue during the call. It is often difficult for the person listening to take notes and follow your conversation; if you talk about more than one issue, the listener will become confused.
  8. Request that the legislator take an action (ask him to support a bill, etc.). "Just to summarize, I am asking the Representative (or Senator) to support _______." Finally, ask the individual to pass your message along to your legislator and ask for a response to the issue raised in the call. Thank the staffer for his/her attention to the issue.