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Teenwise Minnesota-sponsored events:

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Action & Advocacy Tips

Meeting with Your Legislator

  • Make an appointment. Take along another constituent. If possible, meet in your home district.
  • Plan what you are going to talk about. Your personal story is what makes a difference.
  • Be on time to your appointment, but do not be surprised if the meeting is rushed or delayed.
  • Respect the legislator's time. Be brief--plan to spend only 15 minutes.
  • Do not be intimidated by the idea of meeting with your elected official. You have the information they need to make good choices; you are the expert. Tell them what they need to know about the issue as it affects you. Educate them, be their teacher!
  • Be polite. Your visit is about building a relationship. Your legislator may not share your opinion today, but presenting your story in a non-confrontational way may give them reason to change their mind in the future.
  • Begin the meeting by finding a common interest, especially about the local community.
  • State the reason for your visit. Be clear about your concerns. Personalize your message and bring supporting documents. Handouts are helpful, but must be one page or less.
  • Ask the legislator whether they will be able to support your position.
    • If the legislator agrees with you, ask how you can be a help to them in the community.
    • If your legislator does not agree with you, ask what information might help convince them otherwise. Do not accept a first refusal. Find the local angle that might eventually persuade them.
  • Send a thank you letter after your meeting. Remind them that you hope they will support your position.

Writing to Your Legislator

Writing Tips

  • Include your return address on the letter or use personal stationery.
  • Begin the letter with the appropriate salutation: Dear Senator or Dear Representative.
  • Keep the letter brief; write no more than one page.
  • Make your letter neat and easy to read; handwrite your letter, if possible.
  • Begin the letter by stating you are a constituent. If you voted for the legislator, mention that as well.
  • Identify the issue and cover only one issue per letter. If you have more than one issue that needs to be addressed, write separate letters for each issue.
  • You are the expert. Identify yourself and the reason for your expertise.
  • Make your letter informative. Use examples from your own experience or community. Explain how the issue affects you personally.
  • Provide two good reasons why the legislator should support your position.
  • Offer to be of assistance. Offer to testify if there is a hearing regarding the issue with which you are concerned.
  • Thank the legislator for their time and ask for a written response.

Where to Send Your Letter

Senator [Last Name]
Minnesota Senate
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Representative [Last Name]
Minnesota House of Representatives
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Writing Letters to Editors

  • Use the following salutation: Dear Editor.
  • Be sure to check letter specifications for newspapers; roughly two paragraphs is ideal.
  • Type or print your letter so that it is easy to read.
  • Be sure to include your name, address and email.
  • Make your letter timely and connected to a recent article, editorial, or letter to the editor.
  • Tell a personal story if possible.
  • Address the facts about sexuality education and teen pregnancy and STD prevention; use clear terms and do not use abbreviations.
  • Find others to write letters to the editor on similar topics.
  • Familiarize yourself with the coverage and editorial position of the paper to which you are writing. Refute or support specific statements, address relevant facts that are ignored, but do avoid blanket attacks on the media in general or the newspaper in particular.
  • Be persistent, keep writing!