Contacting Your Legislator in a Meaningful Way
Reaching out to your local elected officials can be an integral part of advocating for change you would like to see in the community or for your CMO. Before reaching out, it can be helpful to think about a few things to ensure your contact is effective and your voice is heard.
Know Your Officials
There are many levels and types of legislators who represent you at the local, state and national level. Spending time researching and knowing who the right officials are for your location and what you’re looking to discuss is the first step to a meaningful conversation. All levels of government have websites that can help direct you to the right representatives and provide some additional information on the individuals. Some legislators even have social media accounts that you could follow for real-time updates from them.
If you are a New Jersey resident, you can visit these websites or even your town or borough’s website:
Think About How You Want to Reach Out
There are several ways legislators can be reached, including email, phone, and in-person meetings. Deciding which medium you want to use and then crafting your message accordingly can be an important part of a getting your message across. Keep in mind the timing of your request too, and if it’s urgent, pick an appropriate communication method.
Get clear on what you’re looking for help with or need from the legislator and keep the conversation focused on that. Getting caught up in other topics or issues could derail your goal. Also being prepared with information about why your goal is important, how it impacts the community, who it helps, can be key to a productive conversation.
Humanize the Conversation
In a time when all people are inundated with volumes of messages and information, it’s important to stand out and personalizing your request can be a great way to do so. When advocating for a CMO, sharing your experience with your local CMO and how they have helped your family can be extremely impactful and important for your legislator to hear. Emphasizing the need for a well-funded and robust network of mental and behavioral health services and how that personally impacts your family is another important aspect of advocating for a CMO.