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Introduction and Lobbying Overview
As you read through this Lobby Kit it is important to keep in mind two points. First, that the act of lobbying [influencing] your congressperson is a dynamic process; it will become easier to master the more it is practiced. Second, lobbying begins with a small number of committed and focused individuals. As time progresses, others in your community will be drawn to this crucial work
Lobbying is an attempt to influence elected officials on specific legislation. Legislation can either be an introduced or a draft bill that may be introduced in the future to any legislative body such as a city council, state legislature or Congress. Writing letters is one of the most fundamental grassroots tools for showing support or opposition towards an issue. A handwritten letter shows the congressperson that the constituent has thought about the issue and has serious opinions about it.
It only takes a constituent 5-7 minutes to write a letter, when a sample letter is provided. Receiving letters demonstrates to the congressperson that your group is organized and can influence voters in her/his district. The goal is to mail a number of letters weekly while keeping count of them, since the number of letters received directly impacts the congressperson's position on the issue.
By generating hundreds of letters on a bill, you can lobby from a position of strength when visiting a legislator. It's important to show the congressperson that the bill is strongly supported by average people of her/his district. In addition to generating letters, you'll want to target mainstream media, and organize a deluge of letters-to-the-editor and numerous op-ed pieces in the local print media. In summary, it's vital to show the congressperson that the piece of legislation has strong support among her/his constituents and make it visible in the press.
It takes one member of the House of Representatives to introduce/sponsor a piece of legislation in Congress. The strength of a bill is directly related to the number of congressional members who co-sponsor it. Lobbying, like most endeavors, requires preparation and lots of practice. By lobbying in an organized and consistent manner, you can demonstrate power and influence. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t give up! You’re not alone.