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Effective Communication with a Legislator
As a Floridian, one of your greatest responsibilities is to help elect the legislators who represent you and the state’s more than 14 million other residents. But your role in the democratic process of government does not end at the polls. By sharing your opinions and ideas with your representatives and senators in Tallahassee, you help them decide what to do about the issues and pending legislation that affect us all. They value your suggestions and encourage you to express them.
Your legislators receive a huge amount of phone calls and mail from their constituents. How then, can you be sure your voice is heard? Here are some tips to help you get the most impact out of your communications with your legislators in Tallahassee.
* Know who your legislators are and how to contact them. If you don’t know who represents you, you can find out by using the Find Your Legislator tool. Your senator’s flsenate.gov page will give you his or her mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email address.
* Make sure you understand the legislative process. Even the most basic understanding of the process will help you effectively express your ideas.
* Contact your legislator about a particular issue before the Legislature takes action on it. Most matters coming before the Legislature are well publicized before session.
* Use a variety of communication methods. You might choose to telephone, write, email, fax, or visit your legislator. You might also choose to give testimony at public hearings held by the Legislature. (To give testimony, you would need to contact the appropriate committee administrative assistant before the hearing to sign up.)
* Tell your legislator what effect you think a particular bill, if it becomes law, will have on you, your children, business, or community. Be concise, but specific. How will The Jennifer Act help your family, professionally do your job better, better serve your community, etc.
* Address letters to Members of the House of Representatives as follows:
The Honorable John Doe
Florida House of Representatives
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
* Address letters to senators this way:
Senator Jane Doe
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100