Your elected officials represent you. Let them know what you want.
Who are your legislators?
Identify your legislators by visiting the Missouri Senate website. This site will tell you everything you need to know about who represents you, and all you have to do is enter your home address.
Get to know your legislators.
- Find out what committees they are on, read their biography to determine what their affiliations and interests are – This may help you frame your message
- Make a note of who their legislative aide is, you may find that you end up talking with the legislative assistant more often than the legislator and they can be extremely helpful and will share whatever information you have with the legislator
It is important for legislators to know the concerns of people with disabilities and their families. As you continue to advocate for yourself or your loved one with a disability, keep these tips in mind:
- Schedule personal visits with legislators in the Capitol or at their home offices
- Mail letters, make phone calls, and send emails and limit your letters or emails to no more than 3 pages
- Speak with confidence. You are the expert when it comes to services and resources for your family
- Less is more – Talk no more than 3 minutes and have no more than 3 points to make
- Use personal examples when possible
- Keep a positive attitude (smile)
- No insults – even when you don’t agree with each other
- Listen as well as talk
- If you don’t know the answer to the question, admit you don’t know. Offer to get back to them with the answer
Questions to ask yourself:
- What is your goal?
- What is your concern, question, or request?
- What is most important to you that the legislator can help you with?
- Thank them for their time at the end of your conversation, phone call, email or letter
- If you talked with them in person or on the phone, send a follow up email or letter thanking them for their time again
- Use this opportunity to restate your concerns and the topics you discussed
- This can also be the opportunity to follow up with any questions your legislator had that you were unable to answer at the time of the meeting
If you would like to learn more about how you can communicate more effectively with policymakers, contact Ann Mangelsdorf, Assistant Director of Family Support & Advocacy, at 314-817-2275.