Take control of your government: becoming a citizen lobbyist

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Web Editor - Amanda Roberts

How do you get your voice heard?

Lawmakers in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois have joined together in their respective state capitols to open debate on potential laws for passage, and it's important that you join the debate and become a citizen lobbyist.

If you agree or disagree with any potential laws for passage, there were ways to tell the people who voted to pass or deny them on your behalf.

Illinois will begin their session January 28th.

While the activity at the state houses can seem intimidating at times, lawmakers are fairly accessible. 

Here's a basic guide to make your voice heart in Frankfort, Springfield, Nashville, or Jefferson City.

  • Talk to the right people: Each bill receives a scheduled, public committee hearing. This is your chance to stand in front of lawmakers and tell them what you think. Just contact either a sponsor of that bill or a committee member and tell them your story. They could call on you. Legiscan.com allows you to find these scheduled bills. You can search through all 50 states in the union by going to legiscan.com
  • Call them anyways: If you can't make it to the state capitol, that doesn't mean your representatives are out of reach. They could use your story as an example on the floor. Lawmakers advise you to reach out ahead of those hearings. You can easily enter any address in the country and find out who represents you in the state legislature by going to openstates.org. Clicking on your representative's name will give you all the contact information you may need as well as any bills he/she has sponsored and even recent votes.
  • Craft your argument: Writing a quick email blasting their bill is not going to help your case. Lawmakers say to put forth a reasonable argument, even if it's in opposition. Remember- you're probably not the only one calling or writing so be concise, powerful, and look for compromise. 
  • Go public: Almost every lawmaker is on Twitter where you can publicly engage with them. You can also alert Local 6 if you think the issue is not getting the attention it deserves. Telling your story can bring attention to your issue.
  • Vote, vote, vote: Let your lawmakers know if they've earned or lost your vote and why. When election time rolls around, be sure to seek out opportunities to ask questions about why they voted a certain way.

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