Got Questions concerning the current legislative session? Use the link to the Illinois General Assembly website.
Follow the easy guidelines below when contacting your elected official:
- Be certain that you have factual information and that you are a credible source.If you “stretch the facts” to suit your own point of view, you are not helping the legislator but rather contributing to a distrust of the cause.
- Know and be known to your legislator. Call your legislator; make an appointment to see him/her. Help them know your concerns. Invite your legislator to visit and talk with your civic club, church group, or neighborhood gathering. If you have not done this in the past, now is a good time to start.
- Work on your own legislator. No voice is more important to a legislator than someone from his/her district, because behind that voice is a vote. Speak of your concerns and your opinion on one issue at a time, and then be willing to listen to the legislator’s response. If you and your legislator are on different sides of an issue, asking, “What would help you rethink your position?” would be a useful strategy. It will then be your responsibility to find the information and convey it promptly.
- Be affirming of your legislator. Legislators like to know that their efforts are appreciated and the they are, from time to time, remembered in the prayers of their people. Even when you disagree with your legislator on one issue, try to find another matter on which you can agree and affirm their work. Avoid thinking in an “adversarial” way about your legislator.
- Keep up to date on your concerns. Legislation changes and legislators sometimes change their position. They may have on opinion one day and, after receiving more information, change their mind on another day. They also know that compromise is part of the legislative process. Know how your legislator votes on your issue(s).
- Understand the legislative process and monitor your issue. Many issues are decided in committee. Attend a committee hearing on your issue, and let your legislator know you are attending. Always sign in to support or oppose the bills you are monitoring.
- Enlist others in your church, civic group, association, grassroots group, or neighborhood who share your view to write, call, or otherwise contact the representative and senator from your district. State legislators do not receive many communications on public issues. Ten letters can feel like a ground swell. Make sure that the letters are NOT form letters or form postcards, but rather are individually written and signed with the address and zip code of the writer clearly printed on the correspondence. Regular mail and personal phone conversations are more effective than a fax or e-mail.