Relationships are the lifeblood of advocacy work. Your CSMS government relations team works hard in Hartford to develop deep relationships with policymakers, government agencies, and others working in the health care arena.
What gives an organization a "superpower" are the relationships that member advocates work to build within the legislative districts where they live and work. The power is found in the constituents … that's you!
Legislators want to hear from their constituents in their districts. They want to know how the policies that they debated and passed during legislative session affects their constituents. They want to see and hear from the people who live and work in their district about how a particular problem or issue is affecting a group or organization or business within their communities.
As a physician, you are:
- Responsible for the health and well-being of your patients (their constituents).
- A business owner in their district, responsible for employees (their constituents).
When legislators hear from and meet with constituents, it serves as a powerful advocacy tool. Because often what a policymaker sees, hears, and learns from constituents will shape their decisions, thoughts and actions through policy.
Use the Legislator Meeting Tool Kit on this page to help you build (or strengthen) relationships with your elected officials.
Legislator Meeting Tool Kit
Follow the steps and provided below to get started building relationships with your elected officials.
Step 1: Identify your legislators
Find your legislator and their contact information by visiting the Connecticut General Assembly's Find Your Legislator tool.
Step 2: Plan a Meeting
A meet up witha legislator can take many different forms. Here are a few suggestions:
Offer to meet at a coffee shop, phone call or virtual. These meetings are informal, a kind of “get to know you,” or “let’s catch up” if you have already met. Keep the conversation light. Talk about your office/business, talk about what you appreciated about the last session or about what the legislator accomplished. Give him/her some praise. You should also offer what you were disappointed about and offer insight as to how the policy/decision will affect you, your office, your employees, and your patients. Invite the legislator to visit your place of business so that you can introduce him/her to your employees, and perhaps to patients, as well.
Organize a meeting at your place of business . In this option, You’ll want to invite your legislator to talk about what kind of impact your business makes in the community: the number of employees you have, the number of patients you see, the years you’ve been in business as a community member. As part of your agenda, you’ll want to talk about issues that affect your business, employees, and patients. He/she will see firsthand the effects of a policy making & change.
Invite the legislator to an event as your guest. Invite the legislator to be your guest at a local community event and introduce him/her to your friends and colleagues. Make sure you talk up the positive things the legislator has done for the community.
Step 3: Contact your Legislators
Once you’ve decided the type of meet-up you want to organize, call your legislator’s office. You will most likely speak to a legislative aide. Explain that you would like to meet with the legislator. This may take some work, as schedules are tight, but be persistent, and be ready to compromise. If the legislator is not receptive to a reception at your office, offer to meet over the phone, virtual, or at the Legislative Office Building.
Step 4: Follow up after the meeting
You had your meeting—good for you! There is usually something that is talked about or mentioned that needs follow up. Be sure to do this in a timely manner. Always make sure you send a written note, thanking him/her for taking the time to meet with you. Always offer to be a resource for him/her in the future.
Step 5: Keep in contact
Now keep in touch by sharing information that might interest him/her, or send a congratulations for some news you’ve heard, or a comment on a proposal or issue that the legislator is talking about in the news media. If you can, attend a gathering where the legislator may be speaking. Make sure you re-introduce yourself. And if you have another issue you’d like to talk to him/her about, offer to meet again!