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Making new friends on "The Hill"

Five things that you can do now to start building a relationship with your lawmakers.

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As a You’re the Cure Advocate, you are the type of person, who wants to see healthy changes in your community, county, state and nationally. The only way we can see these changes is by working with the elected officials to help them pass meaningful legislation. Like in any relationship, working or other types, you need common ground and trust.


In my recent research, I came across a few articles written by the Showalter Group. One that stood out to me was their “The Art and Science of the BFF: 105 Ways to Make Friends on The Hill, at the State House, and in City Hall”. There are a lot of ways to make friends on “The Hill”, but here are my top five.


1. Do your research
Get to know your lawmaker before you meet with them. Google, Facebook, Linkdin are all powerful tools on giving you insights about your public official. Also get to know their body of work, sites like votesmart.org will give you knowledge on pieces of legislation that they voted on.


2. Use your social media
Give positive feedback on your social media accounts, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and invite your inner circle to follow them as well. Most if not all lawmakers are thinking about re-election and positive feedback from constituents can be key in winning re-election.


3. Letters to the Editor
Write letters to the editor about legislation that you would see your lawmakers champion. You can also write letters to the editor about the responsiveness of your lawmaker on legislation or issues you are concerned about. This will also inform your community about the lawmaker and the legislation.


4. Volunteer
If you really like what your lawmakers are doing, volunteer for their campaign. Campaign need volunteers to pass out information, talk to neighbors, make phone calls and much more. The candidates do remember who helped get them elected.


5. Get to know the staff
Start reaching out to their office and get to know their staff. They are called gatekeepers for a reason. The staff helps decides, who gets in to see the lawmaker and for how long. They also could be a champion even when you are not around because they normally see proposed legislation before the lawmakers do and help bring it to the lawmaker’s attention.

What I am suggesting will take effort and time to build the relationship. And it might not pan out in the way you were expected. However, if you are up to challenge and willing to put the effort, I know you will see the gains in getting to know your lawmaker, but you will get to know about community and yourself as well.

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