Calling a Legislator
Q. What can I expect to happen when I call my senator or delegate regarding a bill that affects homeschoolers? I want to call, but I’m not sure what to say.
A. When you call your legislator’s office, you can expect a secretary to answer the phone. Your senator and delegate are very busy, and it is not likely that you will speak directly with him or her.
You can leave a short message with the secretary if you wish, but the best person to ask to speak with is the legislative assistant or “LA.” The LA is usually a young person who works closely with the legislator. He or she is knowledgeable about legislation that your representative is working on and can usually answer your questions. The LA will share your opinion with your delegate or senator.
Be respectful, but short and to the point in your conversation. Identify the bill number and the topic, and be very clear in your request. You could say, “I’m a constituent of Senator…, and I would like to ask him to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for SB <<number of bill>>.” You could also use the terms “support” or “oppose” the bill. “SB” is an abbreviation for senate bill and “HB” is an abbreviation for house bill.
You may want to give a one or two sentence reason for your request; however, you will not be required to debate the issue or give a lengthy explanation. If it will make you more comfortable, write down what you plan to say.
You can expect the legislative staff to be friendly and appreciate that you took the time to call. Be prepared to give your name and address so the legislator can respond with a note of appreciation for your interest, especially if you are a constituent.
Thanks for wanting to take part in the legislative process!
Director of Homeschool Support and Government Affairs