Tips for Visits with Legislators

Meet with your legislators

Make an appointment by calling the legislator's office and talking to the legislative assistant. Tell them your topic or concern. If it is later in the session and you can't get an appointment, you can go to the House or Senate Chamber and contact your representative via note or by sending an e-mail into the chamber (provided). They will usually come out of the chamber to talk with you.

Be prepared

  • Introduce yourself. Tell them you are a constituent from their district (or that you work in their district), a social worker, and a member of NASW. 
  • State the issue or bill you are addressing.
  • Use examples from your experience, personal stories from clients, memorable anecdotes.
  • Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know." Note their questions and provide them with an answer ASAP.
  • Before leaving, make a request for action (i.e. to support / oppose the bill)

Keep in mind

  • Be on time. But anticipate delays, and having your appointment time shortened! Be patient.
  • Come prepared. Have background information on the issue and be specific.
  • If you can, know the legislator's perspective and voting record on the issue.
  • Realize that you probably know much more about a particular topic than a legislator does. Legislators are generalists rather than specialists. Explain the issue as if you are talking to someone without any knowledge of the area. Don't feel intimidated - you are the expert!
  • Be brief. Have two talks ready, one that is 15 minutes or less and one that is 90 seconds - in case the legislator has to leave for a vote.
  • Be direct but never hostile nor apologetic. You are trying to build a one-on-one relationship - and, you never know when you will need their support in the future, regardless of current support.

Follow up

  • Leave fact sheets and a short written summary of your position.
  • Follow up with a written thank you and a summary of your position. 
  • Maintain contact with your legislator throughout the rest of the year.

More information

For the number and status of a bill, call:
House Index
 - 651-296-6646

For your legislator's name and number, call:
House Information Office
 - 651-296-3550 or 800-657-3550


Go to the web and visit your Minnesota State Legislature