While CAO’s Legislative Committee and lobbyists facilitate interaction with legislators in the State Capitol, you are the most critical person involved in influencing your elected officials. As the saying goes, “all politics is local!”
The conversations and actions in a legislator’s district have a larger impact on their decision-making than conversations in the Capitol. Legislators are most accountable to their voters, whom they rely on for reelection, face in town halls, and who they may see in the local grocery store. Your opinions and experiences can sway other voters in their district, so each interaction is important. Developing a personal relationship with your legislators and reaching out to them about policy related to orthodontics is the most powerful thing you can do to advance the cause of the profession.
Here are some action steps you can take to begin this process:
Identify Your Legislator
First, identify your Assembly Member and Senator and get their contact information. You can find them with links to their website here.
Introduce Yourself to Your Legislator
As CAO expands our legislative efforts and prepares to support critical legislation, developing a relationship with legislators will allow you to share our message directly ahead of crucial votes. The first step is a simple introduction that alerts your representatives to your presence in their district and your interest in the legislative process. An introductory letter that you mail or email to their office is an easy way to get the ball rolling. You can use this template as a starting place.
Join Constituent Mailing List & Attend Public and Community Events
Once you find your legislators, visit their official websites (those issued by the Senate and Assembly) and sign up for their district newsletter. This newsletter will notify you about events in the district where they will be present. These events include community service activities, town halls, and mobile office hours. Attend an event to meet your legislators in person; let them know that you are a member of CAO and that we are engaged in advocacy to enhance patient health and safety.
Join Campaign Mailing List & Attend Campaign Events
If you want to take it further, you can find their campaign websites and join their mailing lists. Emails to this list include information about fundraising, campaign, and volunteer events. While we donate to certain legislators through our Political Action Committee, members are welcome and encouraged to make small additional donations when the opportunity arises. If you become one of our Legislative Ambassadors, you may also attend events with legislators we support on behalf of CAO.
Meet With Your Legislators In Their District Office
As a constituent, you can request a one-on-one meeting with the legislators or district representatives. This is a more formal but more direct approach to connecting with your representatives.
Email is the easiest way to make this request. You can use this template.
For tips to make the meeting most effective, check out our Effective Legislator Meeting Guide.