Coming from a state legislature with 8 year term limits, Maine Sen. Cathy Breen relies on advocacy groups and lobbyists to provide institutional knowledge on the history of issues they care about. Here are Breen’s 12 tips for making collaboration between a legislator and an advocacy group effective:
Make yourself available on the legislators schedule
Be well informed about the status of the issue in the process
Ask for something concrete from the legislator—a vote, a testimony, some information that helps solve the puzzle
Make sure your ask is a deliverable, not abstract
If you want your legislator to simply get to know you, wait until session is over or paused to invite them to your site
Show off your project when they are on site!
Send him or her off with informative materials (not gifts)
Give him or her good press for visiting!
Make yourself an effective expert on an issue so that your legislator (or staff) can pick up the phone and get reliable information quickly when your issue comes up for discussion
Be willing and able to present testimony on your issue
Be willing and able to write letters to editor in the local paper
Be willing and able to participate in social media campaigns
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