This is a Quick and Easy Guide. More complicated ones exist, but it just doesn’t have to be that hard – and this way you have no excuse for not speaking out:
In a Nutshell (example of a 4-step script follows):
1) Who IS your legislator? One quick way to find out is to use this Find Your Legislator tool. It will give you your state and federal legislators’ names and contact information.
2) What do you say? Tell your Representative / Senator what matters to you. Read on …
3) How do you say it? Succinctly / to the point!
a) Identify yourself so your legislator knows you are a constituent: at the very least include your name and address or neighborhood/city.
b) If there is a specific bill you want to comment on, identify it by number if you can
c) If there is a specific issue, identify it as clearly as possible and make sure it is an issue on the legislator’s plate (no point talking about a bill that is not being considered during the session – you can do that later during a legislative recess)
IF YOU ARE SHY or NERVOUS, call after business hours and leave a message on your legislator’s voice mail or send email. It is ok if you are shy! Shy people count and are counted. That is why legislators have staff who can take messages from recordings or the email in-box. But you still need to be specific and courteous.
SCRIPT: For example, Find Your Legislator and write yourself a script. Really. Professional lobbyists do!
1) My name is [xx]. I live and am registered to vote in xxx, Oregon.
2) I am following the news about [bill x or issue y] and want you to know that I oppose it (or favor it) (or think you should change it) (other).
3) It matters a lot to me because [recite 2-3 reasons, briefly].
4) Thank you.
You can always say more, but at least say something! Your vote counts. Corporations may have “free speech rights” but a corporation can’t vote. It can only buy votes.
You are a U.S. citizen – you can speak out AND you can vote.