An important goal of the Joint Council is to inform our elected representatives of the pros and cons of pending legislation and the intended and unintended consequences of the bills passing. Letters, phone calls and e-mails inundate legislators but they still are the most effective means to capture their attention and measure public opinion regarding a particular issue. If, however, the communication is delivered in haste it can have devastating consequences. Politics and the resulting influence are about developing relationships. It is OK to disagree but never lie or attack them. Develop these personal relationships and the influence will follow.

 

  • Keep the communication brief and to the point.

  • Develop talking points in advanced and rehearse.

  • Write on office, department or personal letterhead. Sign your name over your typed name at the end of the letter.

  • Write only about one issue per letter. State your position in the first paragraph. Personal experiences are the best supporting evidence.

  • Never use combative or threatening language. It polarizes positions and often develops negative consequences.

  • If you have a personal relationship with the legislator, highlight that in your letter or conversation. 

  • Ask the Legislator to state his or her position in their reply.

  • Contact the Legislator as soon as possible to give them the timely opportunity to make an informed decision.

  • Know the facts. Do not try to influence anyone before you have a thorough understanding of the issues.

  • Express your own ideas and opinions. Do not use standard phrases or slang which often give the appearance of a form letter. 

  • Do not write on impulse. Have someone review your letter for content and grammar. Show that you have put some time and thought into it. 

  • Ask your legislator their communication preference (telephone, letter, e-mail).

(C) 2016 Joint Council of Fire Service Organizations

The Joint Council of Fire Service Organizations meeting is scheduled for January 16, 2020 at 9:00am, at the Cannon Health Building, Conference Room 129.