Get To Know Your Lawmakers

It's not uncommon for individuals to be unaware of who their state legislators are. It is easy find out who they are by using the ASRT Advocacy Action Center.  Individuals can enter their zip code in the "Elected Officials" box and the system will generate who the federal, state and local elected officials are for that area. "Constituent" is the term used to refer to an individual who lives in a lawmaker's district.

Naturally, the scheduler or receptionist will be a voice constituents should become familiar with and there may be occasions when the constituent may communicate with the legislative director or Chief of Staff, so learn their names. But typically, the person the constituent will have the most communications with is the legislative assistant who deals with health care issues for the lawmaker. The health legislative assistant (HLA) will listen to and log constituent concerns and questions before they are reviewed by the lawmaker.  If the issue doesn’t rise to a level of importance or timeliness to the HLA, it’s likely it will be mixed in to the pile of issues to be discussed at a later date with the busy legislator. So, striving for engaging conversations with the HLA to make him or her passionate about the issue at hand is important.  Constituents want to make an impression! 

The goal of communication is to develop a basic knowledge of who works in a legislator’s office, understand the different methods of communicating with the office and when is the best time to reach out to lawmakers' offices on the issue.  The elected official’s website should show most of information constituents may be looking for. From the website constituents can subscribe to online newsletters and news feeds. Don’t limit communication and information gathering lf to the legislator’s website, however. Be sure to utilize the entire internet to conduct research about the lawmaker. While researching elected officials advocates will want to learn:

  • Policies on health care
  • Political party and stance
  • Committee positions
  • Voting records
  • Success rates
  • Hobbies
  • Community activities and interests

After constituents research their lawmakers, the important thing to identify to cultivate a relationship  is common interests and experiences.  Did they attend the same school? Share a hobby? Also, make note of the topics where there may not be a common interest or position so unpleasant interactions or comments can be avoided.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can often times provide more current information and a chance to interact with the legislator as well as other constituents.

Attending Town Hall meetings and other public events that lawmakers may attend will make interested constituents a familiar, friendly face.

Constituents need their legislators to know who they are, the role radiologic technologists play in health care and that R.T.s and the affiliate society are the go-to leaders with answers to questions concerning the radiologic technology profession in the state, so remain diligent in getting to know who your legislators are so they will get to know radiologic technologists.

The personal touch is always best, and picking up the phone is often the best sense of “doing something”; however to be most successful at calling lawmakers here are some tips that may help.