Contacting your Legislators
Some of us are a bit nervous or may feel intimidated about contacting their legislators. And do they really want to hear from us – would my call make a difference?
The answer is that legislators really do want to hear from their constituents. They want to know what is important to you, they want to hear from you, and there’s no reason to be intimidated. Your voice is very important, so contacting your legislators is an excellent way to play a role in our democracy. Here are some suggestions.
During the Legislative Session
Legislators are very busy during legislative sessions. Your communication should be brief and concise. In a voicemail or email:
Immediately state if you are a constituent and why you are contacting them. (e.g. "My name is ___, and I am a constituent. I am calling about the TCMC Second Train.”)
In a sentence, describe how you feel about the project (for or against).
In a sentence or two, describe why you feel that way – it’s best to personalize your statement by describing how the project would impact you. (e.g. "More frequent trains between the Twin Cities and Chicago would help me get to and from college." Or, "I would like to have another option to use to visit family along the Mississippi River Route.”)
During the Off-Season
Legislators may have a bit more time to discuss issues. You can send email or call, but a personal visit may be more effective.
Invite your legislators to your company or home. However, agree to meet at a different location if it is more convenient for them. It may be possible to meet with a few legislators at the same time, but it may be more effective if you schedule individual meetings.
If a meeting is not possible, send your legislators a personalized letter or email.
Outline for them—in your own words and with information specific to your situation—your concerns on the issue of mobility, the environment, transportation options, or frequency of service. Tell them how you think the TCMC Second Train will impact your situation.