Time to engage your legislators
You have elected legislators into office to represent your views on important issues. To help them do their job, citizens must share their opinions and thoughts with their representatives. Hearing from a handful of concerned citizens will cause a legislator to pay attention to a particular issue and encourage him or her to lend their support. There are a number of different ways to advocate for your views. You can call, write, email, or schedule a visit at their office. However, the more personal your advocacy contact is, the more effective it will be.
With just over four months until the start of the 2015 General Assembly session, now is the time to engage with your legislators. Decisions on the budget and potential legislation have already begun so it’s important to build a relationship, have an open dialogue, and share your personal stories about public education. Over the next few weeks, we ask that you take time to schedule a meeting or phone call with your local legislator. Encourage your board to host a luncheon with all your legislators and school board or a joint townhall meeting. Discuss your concerns about funding, increased need for local flexibility, reducing unfunded mandates and other division challenges. Don’t forget to utilize the VSBA Grassroots Advocacy Guide for policy topics to discuss and good questions to ask when engaging with legislators.
Just a quick reminder that November is Take Your Legislator to School Month. During your advocacy meetings this month, we encourage you to invite your legislators to visit your school division in November. This year, the VSBA encourages school divisions to choose an area of focus for your legislative visits. For example, you may decide to have “VSBA Take Your Legislator to CTE School Month” or “VSBA Take Your Legislator to STEM School Month”. This will allow you to emphasize particular aspects of the division that you are most proud of or wish to highlight. To learn more about Take Your Legislator to School Month check out the 2014 VSBA Guide.
Your voice can make a difference in your schools, community and in Richmond as legislators make decisions that impact you. Take a few minutes to advocate for your students and engage with your legislators now!
Questions, ideas on ways to advocate and engage your community, or success stories to share? Send them to VSBA Government Relations Coordinator Emily Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org.