Posted by Bluerod on January 08, 2002 at 17:27:46:
I have done a lot of surfing the last few weeks, and here is some of what I’ve found out about what to do, how to have an affect in improving our state’s environment – water, land and air. I should mention that some the following is paraphrased from the AlaLEAV web page, http://www.alaleave.org/ and www.bamanews.com These two sites and many others have a LOT of information and great links!! Many of us have said “write a letter, let our voice be heard!” Okay, are you going to fish or cut bait?
1 - To be successful in getting legislation passed it must have the strong support of the Governor and/or the leadership of the Alabama House and Senate. Money can influence this support, but there are other less expensive ways to influence our state legislators.
2 - Most legislation takes years of being introduced, debated and amended before becoming law. Working with the state legislature takes a lot of patience and persistence – with a little heat from their voters, the stew might start boiling sooner.
A side note: I can’t urge you enough, you don’t know how important it is, to go to http://www.adem.state.al.us/AboutAdem/AgencyOverview/agencyov.htm#Public%20Affairs%20Office and read all that there is there, REALLY READ IT! IMHO, many of the state functions, empowered and under funded by the legislature, have dropped the ball; however, if you are serious about helping to make a difference, read that page and these others and then you will have some smart observations of your own.
3 - Being able to sway public opinion is an asset when attempting to pass legislation or simply to voice your own view and opinion. Letters to the editor, opposition editorials, guest articles in [your] local daily/weekly papers are all ways to influence the way a legislator votes. Many ……. papers are starved for news to publish and will usually print articles submitted by the general public. This is an excellent way to communicate with elected officials and to influence your local community [ If …..published always be sure to clip the article and mail it to your local elected officials].
From just a few people I talked to, they have never had a submitted letter unpublished by a newspaper editor. Find a local reporter and make friends with them (take ‘em fishing!!) and feed them story ideas and information. Reporters rely on leads for GOOD stories.
The Anniston Star, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile Register, email@example.com
Birmingham News, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Huntsville Times, email@example.com
There are many, many other good papers and outlets for ‘Letters to the Editor’
4 - Learn who your state legislator is and introduce yourself to them:
http://www.legislature.state.al.us/senate/senate.html, search by district or zip code
http://www.legislature.state.al.us/house/house.html, search by district or zip code
And don’t forget Don Siegelman: http://www.governor.state.al.us/office/main-contact.html and click on "click here to send an email"
A personal relationship allows... Communication. If you know someone who knows a golfing/fishing buddy of your legislator take advantage of it and engage them into talking about environmental issues and legislation. I work in a sales position and have for years: if you don’t have a relationship with your customer, you probably won’t make the sale. The legislators are elected to be OUR advocates, our voters at the state level and so, each is subjected to a number of voices and views. If they know you (better), it makes sense that they will be more likely to listen to you. End of part #1
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