Lobbying Basics

Meeting face to face with legislators can help us achieve important changes to the status quo. When you bring your story to legislators, or their staff, you make clear your commitment to ending breast cancer. More importantly, you let them know that you, as a constituent, hold them accountable for the issues affecting young women with breast cancer. These meetings let you explain your positions to your representatives — so you can educate them about these important topics.

Sit Down with Legislators Where They Are

You can share your positions with members of Congress in Washington, D.C., or in their home state or district — they have staff and offices both places. The Washington, D.C., staff generally knows legislation better. They work on emerging and current legislative issues, focusing on technical aspects, so be sure to communicate your knowledge of the issues. Home-state or district-office staff often deal less with legislation, instead providing a link between Congress members and their constituents. They should have great interest in your point of view but might not know legislation as well.

Paying a Visit

You can arrange a visit easily. First send a fax introducing yourself and outlining what you would like to discuss. Follow up with a call to your legislator’s office and ask for the scheduler. Introduce yourself and briefly explain why you would like a meeting. If you are a constituent, be sure to mention it. That little detail can help you get a meeting with the legislator instead of a staff member. Keep in mind, however, that meeting with a staff member is frequently more productive since they often complete the research and the work on any action items you might request.

Find your senators or representative by calling 202.224.3121 (Senate) or 202.225.3121 (House). You can also find your senators or your representatives online.