Capitol dome in Charleston, WV

West Virginia Legislative Process

Introduction > Legislative Process > Policy Making > Committee System > Bill Becomes Law > Take the Test > Resources

Resources > Contacting Your Legislators > Be Prepared, and more! > Public Hearings Fact Sheet

Be Prepared, and more!

The Nine Be's To Remember When Dealing With Elected Officials:

Be Prepared:

Do your homework! Make sure you are fully familiar with MTSTCIL's agenda, fact sheets on the issue. that you have information that you can tell your legislator how people with disabilities are affected by the bill or the issue.

Dress professionally and conduct yourself professionally - you are representing the disability community and Mountain State Centers for Independent Living. Professional dress is required when visiting your legislator or when visiting the State Capitol. Men should be clean shaven and wear slacks and dress shirts and a jacket and tie when possible. Women should wear a conservative dress or pantsuit and be sure that your hair is clean and neatly combed.

Be Brief:

Be Clear:

Be specific, direct, complete and concise. Introduce one topic at a time using prepared facts, data and/or statistics to use to make your point.

Be Accurate:

Know your facts. Provide facts that tell who, what, where, when and why. Be sure to include information about the people who are affected by the bill or issue. Never give a legislator bad information. Do not hesitate to admit when you don't know all the facts. If this happens, tell your legislator you will find out and get back to them at a specific time.

Be Persuasive and Positive:

Discuss the opposition's arguments against your bill or issue - state your rebuttal. This prevents your legislator from being blind-sided later, prepares the legislator to argue on your behalf and improves your credibility as an honest broker of information.

Be Timely:

Be Realistic:

Remember your legislator is working on other issues and problems. If your legislator needs to cancel your appointment, take the opportunity to reschedule for a later date.

Be Persistent:

Be Appreciative:

Thank your legislator for their support in the past. Be respectful and say thank you even if the legislator does not agree with you. Thank the legislator's staff. Within one week of your visit, write a letter to your legislator thanking him or her for their time and support.