“If you think no one listens or your story doesn’t matter, you are wrong. Legislators need to hear from you- on the phone, in an e-mail, or letter- you can’t solve a problem if you don’t know one exists.”
-Former State Senator Moe Keller (Vice President of Public Policy & Strategic Initiatives, Mental Health Colorado)
Why Is Your Story Important? How Can You Make A Difference In Colorado?
Your story and your experience living with or caring for someone with a chronic condition is valuable for helping create change. The policies Colorado legislators pass impact our everyday lives, our elected officials need to know how we feel about these policies to make the best decisions for the constituency they are representing. Some legislators may have some knowledge about certain issues, but need additional information and your story can help provide that information. Legislators may not know why your issue is important, but you can help them understand. Remember YOU ARE THE EXPERT!
Tips for telling your story to legislators:
- Consider what you know about your legislator
- Consider what you want them to know about what you are advocating for
- Try to find some commonalities with your legislators. It is always easier to chat with someone if you can connect with them
- Tell a story about your “why” – why are you here today? What makes your story important? What are you trying to accomplish by talking to your legislator?
- Remember, your legislator may need your guidance on an issue, help guide them by telling them about your personal experience
- Share what you know about what is happening in your community related to the issue
- Chat respectively at all times so no one gets defensive if they don’t agree
- Be concise
- Don’t be discouraged if your legislator says they do not have a lot of time, they still want to hear from you
- Keep it simple – it is OK to say,” I am here today raising awareness for chronic diseases, I am a constituent and wanted to introduce myself to you”
- If you don’t know the answer to a legislator’s question, it is okay to say “I don’t know”
- Don’t forget to say thank you and to get their business card or email address