Be an Advocate

We the People


We have a representative form of government at all levels - federal, state and local.  Our governmental representatives debate issues, set regulations, pass laws and make decisions that affect all of us.  It is up to us to make our voices heard!  Legislators really WANT to hear from you - it is how they make informed decisions - and your advocacy efforts are an important factor in helping to shape their decision.

You might, however, be reluctant to advocate on pending legislation for fear of doing something wrong — or because you get nervous around public officials. It is completely normal to feel uneasy around elected officials, as they can often appear to be larger than life. Just remember, though, that legislators are people just like you — people who want to improve life in their communities.

Meeting with your legislators face-to-face is the most effective way to get your message across — and the best time to meet with them is when the legislature is not in session and they are in their home district offices. The legislative session is a busy time for them, so it is probable they will not be available to take your call or meet with you in person. If a legislator is unavailable to meet with you, you can meet with their staff. Having staff members on your side can be important, as they are required to be knowledgeable about many different issues and legislators rely on the opinions of their professional staff.

Letters, phone calls and emails are also good ways to contact your legislators — especially if made at the right time, with a sincere and heartfelt message. Following are some tips on contacting your legislator in person, in writing or by phone:

General Tips for Contacting Your Legislator

  • Contact your legislative office when an issue is being heard in committee, especially if your legislator serves on the committee discussing the issue.
  • If the legislator is unavailable, ask if there is a staff person who handles your issue.
  • When you want a legislator to take a position on an issue, contact them before there is a vote.
  • Be brief and get to the point quickly. Be specific about why you are contacting them.
  • If asked, be prepared to give your name, address and the organization you represent (if any).
  • If you live in the representative’s district, tell them.
  • Be polite, professional, positive and respectful.
  • If you are concerned about a specific bill, give the bill number and subject. State your position on the bill and a brief reason for that position.
  • Tell your legislator what you want them to do.
  • Thank them if they agree with you.
  • If they disagree with you or aren’t sure, tell them how a bill will affect your family, friends, community, business or job. Include one or two specific examples.
  • Offer to be a resource for issues related to autism.
  • Thank them for their time.



Ohio Autism Legislative Advocacy Manual



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