Not everyone has tried to contact their elected representatives before and that's OK! We've prepared this simple script and some top tips that you can read and follow, using one of the Surfrider Foundation MA's 2023 campaigns about Beach Access as an example.
Here, you'll be asking your MA state representative to co-sponsor 'An Act Relative to Recreation on Private Tidelands' (Bill Numbers H.795 and S.462). At the time of writing, the two bill numbers represent identical House and Senate versions of the bill.
Give it a shot! Adapt this to your needs. You'll be a pro in no time.
Here are a few tips for when you call or email
To start: If you don’t know who your State Representative or Senator is, you can use the address where you are registered to vote to look up their contact information.
- If you call, you are likely to speak with an aide or get voicemail. Don’t be afraid to keep calling or e-mailing until you get a response that satisfies you!
- Remember to give your name and let them know you are a constituent. Especially when e-mailing, it helps to include the address where you are registered to vote. For example, if speaking to an aide:
- “Hi! My name is [YOUR NAME] and I live at [YOUR VOTING ADDRESS] in Rep./Sen._______’s district.”
- Clearly state your specific request.
- “Please ask Rep./Sen._______ to co-sponsor ‘An Act Relative to Recreation on Private Tidelands’, which has Bill Numbers H.795 and S.462.”
- Share a few personal reasons why you support this bill! For example:
- “I believe that free access to the coast should is a right for all people, and shouldn’t be limited to the privileged few.”
- “It’s 2023! Don’t you think it’s time to modernize our colonial-era beach access laws?”
- “It doesn’t make sense that I am allowed to carry a shotgun and hunt birds, but can’t simply walk along the beach!”
- …or anything else that speaks to your personally.
- Remember to listen to their response!
- If it isn’t clear whether or not the elected will co-sponsor the bill, please be sure to ask that they follow up later with their position:
- “I look forward to knowing whether Rep./Sen._______ will help champion this important legislation or not. When could you get back to me with a clear indication of their willingness to co-sponsor H.795 and S.462?”
- No matter how it goes, please remember to thank the person you are speaking to!
That's it! Great job! Remember that we will be most effective if you also share what you know as widely as you can. Please help convince friends and neighbors (especially in your district) to reach out also!