Learn to Be an Advocate
If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.
grass•roots (gras´roots´, -roots´) n. (sing. or pl. in number). 1. People or society at a local level. 2. The groundwork or fundamental source of something. 3. Engaging people to change public policy.
Grassroots is the mechanism to express your views and give input to your elected officials. Remember the existence of legislators in your area depends on your vote. To get that vote they must work for your interests. All constituents are created equal, but not all constituents express themselves equally.
Grassroots is easy! Below is an outline of basic techniques and ways to use your Bulldog voice.
Contact your legislator through email, phone, letter, or face-to-face meeting.
Establish a relationship with your elected official. It can be done in print, personal meeting or by phone. When developing a relationship with a legislator, appeal to their sensibilities and do not engage in inflammatory discussions. Engage them in a dialogue and allow both parties to express their concerns. The more personal the tactic, the higher the impact will be. Keep your message to the point, be prepared and plan ahead of time what you are going to say. MPhA's government affairs team will always provide you with issue briefs or information you will need for your contact. MPhA's government affairs team can also provide you with background on your legislator.
Outline of points for your contact:
- Introduce yourself.
- Provide brief clear statements, personalized with local context.
- Add personal stories.
- Support your case with facts, not opinions.
- Listen to their responses.
- Ask for their support.
- Thank them.
Write a letter or editorial to a newspaper.
Letters to the editor, commentary and editorials are an effective media tool to make the case for your cause. The best are concise (200-400 words), written in first person and compelling. They offer researched arguments or a unique perspective with a human side of the story. Writing an editorial or commentary to your local newspaper is a good way to garner support and attention to your issue. To find your local newspaper address, search the Minnesota Newspaper Association's web site at www.mna.org. Address your letter to the attention of: Editorial Page Editor.
Making direct contributions to candidates is a great way to stand out to the candidate. Make sure when contributing to an individual to write "pharmacist" in the memo line of the check. If you have time to volunteer to help out with the campaign, it can be a fun and rewarding experience and a great way to build a relationship with your elected official. A quick web search of a candidate's name will provide you with the contact information for their campaign. Or you may contact the party caucuses; they will direct you to the candidate or information you need.
DFL Caucus - www.dfl.org
Republican Caucus - www.mngop.org
Who represents me?
Identify your state and federal legislators.
How do I contact my legislator?
Tips on how to address and communicate with your legislator.
How a Bill Becomes a Law
Review basic terminology in the legislative process.