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Advocacy

Legislative Assembly: The 61st Legislative Assembly will consist of a Senate with 47 senators and a House of Representatives with 94 representatives.

To access the Senators in North Dakota visit: http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/61-2009/senate/members/last-name.html.

To access the House of Representatives in North Dakota visit: http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/61-2009/house/members/last-name.html.

When Meeting or Contacting Your Representative or Senator, Keep in Mind the Following:

  • Brief - A legislator's time is limited.
  • Strategic - Research information about previous positions, voting records, and legislative and policy goals. Establish as many connections as possible between you and the decision-maker.
  • Specific - State the clear purpose and timeliness of your visit or communication
  • Informative - Give clear, local examples of why the measure should be supported or a proposed funding cut rescinded.
  • Bold - Ask for a particular action.
  • Good listener - Give the decision-maker a meaningful opportunity to state his/her position so you can begin a dialogue.
  • Respectful - Maintain a good working relationship regardless of outcomes. Do not treat meetings as a one-time opportunity; revisit issues on a regular basis. Become an information resource and cultural liaison to the decision-maker.
  • Appreciative - Acknowledge past support and always say thank you!

The following information is provided to assist you in communicating effectively with members of the North Dakota legislature. This is not a definitive guide to legislative communications. It is meant to provide the foundation for effective grassroots advocacy.

North Dakota Legislative Protocol - Tips for Writing Your State Legislators

The letter is a direct way to communicate with a state legislative office. When writing a letter, this list of suggestions will improve its effectiveness:

  • Individually written letters, rather than mass generated form letters, make a greater impression on your legislator. Type your name, address, and phone number at the top.
  • Most state legislatures are only in session part of the year. The North Dakota State Legislature is in session January 06, 2009 through April 30, 2009. When the legislature is out of session, it may be more effective to send your letter to your legislator's district office, if the legislator has one.
  • Addressing correspondence:

    To the State Senate

    The Honorable (Full Name)
    State Capitol, (Room Number)
    North Dakota Senate
    Bismarck, ND 58505

    To the State House of Representatives

    The Honorable (Full Name)
    State Capitol, (Room Number)
    North Dakota House of Representatives
    Bismarck, ND 58505

  • Be specific. Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, be sure to identify its full name and number, e.g. House Bill: HB_____, Senate Bill: SB_____.Try to send your letter while the issue is still alive.
  • State your position. Explain why you support or oppose this particular issue. Keep in mind that local examples concerning the impact of this legislation are very powerful. Be courteous and to the point, keeping your letter focused on one issue.
  • Ask for a response. Indicate to your legislator that you would appreciate a reply containing his/her position on the issue. "Sincerely yours" is a proper way to conclude your letter.
  • Follow up. If you agree with your legislator's vote, take the time to let him/her know that. Similarly, if you disagree with his or her vote, inform your legislator.

North Dakota Legislative Protocol - Tips for Calling Your State Legislators

To find your state legislator's phone number, you may use our searchable online state legislature directory or call your state's switchboard at 701-328-2000 and ask for your Senator and/ or Representative's office.

Keep in mind that most state legislatures are only in session part-time, so try to get the number for your legislator's district office. Telephone calls are often taken by a staff member and not the actual legislative member. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue to which you wish to comment. If they are not available, you may also leave a message. If you speak with someone other than your legislator, take down their name and title.

Upon reaching your state legislator on the phone, it's easiest to follow these four basic steps:

  • IDENTIFY yourself by name and the organization (if any) that you represent or the town from which you are calling.
  • EXPLAIN why you are calling: "I am calling to support/oppose House Bill: HB_____, Senate Bill: SB_____. " Be polite and concise. Creating 1 or 2 talking points will focus the content of your message. Too much information may confuse your message. Ask your legislator his/her position on this issue. Don't assume that your legislator has prior knowledge of your issue. Be calm, respectful, and be prepared to educate, using local examples to accentuate your point.
  • REQUEST a written response to your phone call if you did not speak to your legislative member. If the legislator requires further information, provide it as soon as possible.
  • THANK the person who took the phone call for their time and consideration.

For Tips for Contacting Your U.S. Representative or Senator, visit: http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_tipsforcontacting.htm.

 
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