How Do I Prepare?
I want to attend; where do I begin?
- Register for the event!
- Identify your legislators. Go to the Illinois Board of Elections.
- Select "Find My Elected Officials"
- Follow the prompts, and enter your address
- Get to know your legislators. Visit Illinois General Assembly.
- There you will find information on your legislators, committees, schedules, legislation, and more. You will also get information on their office location, phone numbers, and email addresses.
I can't attend. How can I engage?
- Identify your legislators. See above for more information.
- Get to know your legislators. Get on their mailing list. Follow them on social media platforms. See where they stand on issues and what legislation they are supporting.
- When you're ready, set up a time to meet with them. This can be done in person, via phone, or Zoom.
- Call their office, and a staff member will assist you in setting up your meeting.
- Be sure to give them your name, address, and phone number, and let them know that you are a constituent.
- Remember, your elected officials want to hear from you!
Tips for Meeting with Your Legislator
- Meeting with your legislator is a way to tell your elected official what you think about a particular bill or issue and encourage them to take action on it.
- Gather the materials needed for the meeting. Many organizations like Lutheran Social Services of Illinois will give you information that will include handouts that you can share.
- Decide who will attend. Going in a group can ease anxieties, especially if it's your first time advocating. Pick members of the community who are as passionate about the topic as you are. Decide who will do the speaking, who will share a personal story, and who will take meeting notes.
- When speaking to your legislator, let them know why you are there. Stick to the topic and your talking points. If you can, make it personal: How does this affect you or the community in which you live?
- If your legislator asks you a question and you don't have an answer, be sure to let them know that you will get back to them, and do so.
- You don't have to be an expert on the topic! You just need to bring it to their attention. Legislators have hundreds of bills on their desks at any given time. They need and want to hear from you about what is important to their constituents. Remember, they represent you!
- After the meeting, send a thank-you note to your legislator for taking the time to meet with you.
- Follow up and provide them with any answers to questions they asked during your meeting.
- Build a relationship with them. Invite them to your churches, events, and other activities that expose them to all aspects of the community.