Tips to Engage Elected Officials

So You Want to Talk to a Legislator?

  1. What is advocacy?
  2. Who are the players?
  3. What do legislative meetings look like?
  4. What is your message?
  5. What can you do after advocacy day?


What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is supporting a cause and trying to get others to support it as well. You already are an EXPERT:

  • Have you tried to get more money for your allowance or for a fun activity with your friends?
  • Have you tried to get your teacher to not assign homework and get your friends on board?
  • Have you worked with your SBHC to offer more services or different programs?

Why Advocate?

  • To protect the cause you believe in (Ex: Child and Adolescent Health Centers)
  • To educate and provide public knowledge (Ex: Child and Adolescent Health Centers bring a doctor’s office to my school. They do more than just provide us with health care, they also….)
  • To promote a cause through an event (Ex: SCHA-MI’s Advocacy Day!)

Who are the players? 

  • Legislators are people too!
  • They are elected by your parents, teachers, and community members.
  • You are an upcoming voter – remember this!
  • They are not experts on all subjects!
  • They need YOUR expertise!


What do legislative meetings look like?

  • Format
  • Face-to-face, 10-15 minutes
  • Legislator vs. Staff
  • Role Play
  • K.I.S.S.
  • Follow-up


What is your message?

  • Please support continuation funding in the FY 2016 budget as recommended by the Governor and both House and Senate subcommittees.
  • Please support restoration of $2 million General Fund in the FY 2016 budget to allow these important pilots to demonstrate their effectiveness in serving a broader school population.
  • Ask them to tour your center!

How to be the most effective advocate:

  • Share a personal story.
  • Share how others in your school are impacted by your health center!
  • Share how the health center makes a difference in your school!

Prepare to communicate with your legislator
The Meeting Format:

  • My concern is …
  • I’m concerned about this because (what would happen without your CAHC)…
  • Share your story, personal experience
  • Share your ask
  • Let them know you are a future voter and have parents who vote that live in their community!


How to communicate with state legislators after advocacy day:

  • Face-to-face meetings
  • Appointments with officials
  • Rallies and town halls
  • PTA, board meetings, and organization days
  • Internet
  • Emails
  • Blogs/Twitter
  • Facebook, Twitter & YouTube
  • Phone calls
  • Writing campaigns
  • Letters, Editorials and postcards
  • Petitions
  • Voting!!!