Did you know Georgia’s legislative session lasts only 40 days? Our 56 senators and 180 representatives have from the second Monday of January late March to propose, debate, and vote on laws that deeply impact our lives. On February 6–in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council, American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League–Jeff Willard of Tzedek Georgia gave a training on making your voice heard as bills become laws.
Making Your Voice Heard in seven steps from Tzedek Georgia.
- Start on a positive note. Research your legislator. Find something you can thank them for, or at least connect with them on.
- Frame your issue based on their values. Just like you, your representative has a system of values that is fully formed and unlikely to change. How can you frame your issue so that it appeals to what is important to them?
- Share the facts. This might start with making your legislator aware of the bill you want them to vote on or even handing them a copy of the bill. Tell them what you know about the issue.
- Share a personal story. Why do you care? How does this affect you or someone you know?
- Bring up the unintended consequences. What negative consequences might occur if the vote goes the wrong way? This does not mean threatening your legislator with supporting their opponent, etc. Stick to the issue. How will people be impacted?
Ask how they plan to vote. If they are unsure or not voting your way, ask what other information you can provide.
Follow up. Advocating for what you care about takes a lot of energy, but a single visit isn’t enough. Follow up with additional information, call, email, write a note, and come back again, with friends!