How Can I Influence Government Decisions?
You can contact your elected officials or give testimony to the Legislature. Learn how:
Contact your elected officials
Democracy is not a spectator sport. Active citizens do make a difference. Voice your concerns effectively by following some basic principles. The same principles apply to your local, state, or federal government.
Is Anyone Listening?
Your elected officials work for you. If you think a proposed ordinance or policy misses the mark or have a suggestion as to how to address a problem, share your ideas.
Who Do I Tell?
Elected officials are most interested in how policies and programs affect their districts; let them know how you will be impacted. Contact them by email, letter, or office visit.
Some basic principles for contacting your government official:
- Identify yourself; give your home address.
- Limit each communication to one issue.
- Describe the issue that concerns you and tell the officials the action you would like taken.
- Have your talking points ready and focus on the issue.
- State reasons for your views. Be brief, clear, and concise. Stick to the facts; don't stretch the truth.
- Mention any relevant credentials or background.
- Make it personal; explain the impact on you, your family, or community.
- Be courteous and respectful; keep the door open for future communication.
- Listen to the officeholder’s views. Stay open to compromise.
- Be patient but persistent. Don’t expect an immediate commitment. Follow up after your initial contact.
- Ask for a reply, if contacting in writing. Send a thank you or follow up letter when appropriate.
- Know the rules: never promise campaign contributions or give gifts to officials.
Contact Information for Your Elected Officials -
Individuals are encouraged to give testimony at County Commission or City Council meetings. During the Legislative session, testimony can be given at the Capitol in Salem on pieces of pending legislation. The League encourages public engagement in this process and can assist in your preparation for it. Any person may testify as a private individual or designated League members may testify on behalf of the League. Interested? Contact our Local Action Chair - email: LocalAction [at] LWVClackamas.org Member testimony requires careful coordination with the League Action Chair.
Join the Action Team
Contact our Action Director - email: LocalAction [at] LWVClackamas.org