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How to Communicate With Your Legislators

The Letter

Writing your legislator is always an effective way to communicate. Keep your letter to a single page.

Sample Advocacy Letter

Date
Address

Salutation,

Using your own letterhead, introduce yourself in the first paragraph. Tell your legislator that you are a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), and how long you have lived in their district.

Use the second paragraph to select one or two talking points to make your point regarding anesthesia practice. Explain the role of the CRNA or how this particular issue pertains to your practice. Then identify ways in which this affects your community.

In the final paragraph, conclude with a question such as “Are you willing to commit the state’s financial resources for Nurse Anesthetists to (support CRNA education, keep Medicare strong, maintain equity in teaching rules etc.) I look forward to your response to this question.” The question format will open the door for continued communication.

Remember to sign your name and include your credentials and address!
Remember that when responding to CRNA Advocacy Alerts, the AANA often supplies you with all the information you need to act quickly.

Appropriate forms of address and salutation

Here’s how to properly address your letter to various elected state officials:

To the Governor:

The Honorable (full name)
Governor, State of Delaware

Dear Governor (last name),

To a State Senator:

The Honorable (full name)
State Senator (if to the President, use President of the Senate)

Dear Senator (last name),

To a State Representative:

The Honorable (full name)
State Representative (if to the Speaker, use Speaker of the House)

Dear Representative (last name),

The Call

The telephone is an effective means of communication when time is short. It can sometimes be a challenge to reach busy lawmakers. Be prepared with your message so that if you are able to speak to the legislator, you project your message with confidence and clarity. Remember: Be prepared; be brief; be clear; be persuasive, be thankful.

If the legislator is out of the office, leave a message. Remember to be courteous to staff. If the issue is one that requires immediate action, let staff know your position on the issue, leave your name and phone number so that your opinion will be recorded and the legislator may return your call.

The Visit

The most effective way to advocate is in person. You’ll need to set up an appointment, then organize your brief and concise presentation. Unless the legislator wants to extend the visit, ask them to meet with you for only 15 minutes. Prepare a brief summary of your comments to leave with the legislator as well as documentation that helps confirm your message. Referring to local examples to illustrate your point is helpful.

Remember:

  • Schedule ahead.
  • Organize your presentation.
  • Be brief (No more than 15 minutes).
  • Be friendly.
  • Be sincere.
  • Leave a summary.
  • Send a “thank you.”

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