How to Set Up a Meeting with Your Legislator

  1. Find out who your representatives are
    1. Search “Who Represents Me”, click the result for and fill out the appropriate data.
  2. Figure out who you should be visiting (Federal vs State) based on the issues of interest.
    1. In order of appearance on webpage:
      • Federal/US Senators
      • Federal/US Representatives
      • State Senators
      • State Representatives
  1. Schedule meeting
    1. Look up the Congress person and find the appropriate office phone number.
    2. Utilize the script provided at > Legislative Area > Public Policy and Advocacy Resources.
    3. Note: Some offices may have a link on their webpage for requesting meetings. Others will ask you to submit a request via email or may be willing to do it over the phone.
    4. Email your regional Legislative Coordinator when you set up an appointment so that it can put it out on social media for other RDN constituents to join the meeting.
  2. Legislation Information/Material
    1. For Federal Legislation issues, visit > Advocacy > Action Center > Congressional Materials to find an overview of the bill, an Issue Brief (for your information), Leave Behind material, and much more. You may also reach out to your Regional Legislative Coordinator for specific guidance on the issues of interest and informational material.
    2. Familiarize yourself with the Talking Points and gather a few important statistics.
      1. It’s always better if you can find specific stats about your specific district or state. (Instead of just 86 million people in the U.S. have prediabetes, use X-number of people in our district have prediabetes.)
    3. Note: You can have papers in front of you to reference during your meeting.
    4. Look up whether your Congress person already supports any legislation you plan to discuss.
    5. Look to see what committees/caucuses your legislator is a part of (ex: the diabetes caucus when you’re talking about diabetes legislation) as they have more influence over those bills.
      1. Note: the app TexLege is great for this.
    6. Prepare Leave Behind Packet
      1. Items to be included in packet (file folder)
        1. ‘Leave Behind’ handout for each piece of legislation to be covered.
        2. ‘Top 10 Reasons to Consult with an RD/RDN’ handout ( found at > Career > Marketing Center > Eat Right Nutrition Tips and Handouts).
        3. ‘RD/RDN’s — Bringing Expertise to the Table’ handout (found at > Career > Marketing Center > Eat Right Nutrition Tips and Handouts).
        4. May include Food and Nutrition Magazine if you have an extra copy.
        5. Texas Academy contact information and/or business card.
  1. Thank Yous!
    1. Thank the staffer/legislator for their support at the meeting, email them immediately after, and (highly suggested as well) write a handwritten thank you note. (You will leave an impression!)
    2. Be sure to include something that you talked about during the meeting in the email and/or written note.
    3. It’s also helpful to attach the PDF version of the leave-behind materials in case staffers misplace them or want to distribute them electronically.
  2. Email your regional Legislative Coordinator with an overview of how the meeting went: how receptive they were to your message, if they had any questions you did/did not know the answer to, etc. This will help us in the future in knowing where to focus our efforts when new legislation is proposed.

Quick Tips

  • If they ask a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t be afraid to say so! Tell them that you’re not sure, but would happy to get the answer for them. It gives you a great reason to follow up with them later!
  • Try to relate with them on a personal level. Read through their bio on their website and see if you have anything in common or that you could talk about outside of the legislation.
  • Always email your regional Legislative Coordinator with questions, concerns, or advice! They can help set you up with another RDN to go together. There is power in numbers!
  • Get a picture with your legislator and send it to your regional Legislative Coordinator and/or the Public Policy Panel