Getting to know your elected officials

Guest blog by Cathie Goth, National Legislative Committee Vice Chairman

 

With the mid-term congressional elections in our rearview mirrors, it is time to renew relationships with returning legislators and cultivate new relationships with the newly elected members of Congress. Take time to make a call, send an email, or drop a note to your returning legislators reminding them of who we are (members of The American Legion Family), what we do (advocate and support our veterans, military, and their families), and why it matters.  The same message holds true for acquainting yourself with newly elected legislators.

When meeting with your legislators, remember we represent a component of The American Legion Family, the American Legion Auxiliary — and above all be courteous and respectful, and review the resources available at www.legion.org/legislative for The American Legion’s legislative agenda and legislative point papers. The American Legion Auxiliary’s Advocacy Guide is an excellent resource to use in contacting your legislators, and the guide is also available online. Just log into www.ALAforVeterans.org and from the menu on that page, select Members Only, from that list select ALA guides, and scroll down to the ALA Advocacy Guide and click on it to download for free.

Advocating for veterans

For those of us who live in rural areas, it is sometimes a little more difficult to make personal contact, but not impossible. Don’t know where to start? You can visit www.house.gov and enter your zip code and then your address to find your representative in the House, and www.senate.gov where you can simply enter your state to locate your senators. You might also try your local Chamber of Commerce; they have a wealth of information to share — ask for their list of civic and social organizations. This list should also contain political party committee chairs in your community and you can reach out to them for contact information. And while you are perusing this list, make sure your unit, post, and squadron are listed.

Letter writing may be considered a lost art by some, but is still effective. You will find sample letters to legislators in the ALA Advocacy Guide with helpful suggestions and how to successfully reach your legislator. Each member, whether living in metropolitan areas or the rural communities, has a voice and the right to exercise this voice in support of The American Legion’s legislative agenda.

Please take advantage of the free resources available at www.legion.org/legislative and join us on our ALA Legislative Facebook page for daily posts, videos, and our weekly Legislative Moments with special guest speakers.

On behalf of an awesome 2018-2019 Legislative team, thank you for all you do for our veterans, military, and their families.

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