Get to Know Your Public Officials - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Get to Know Your Public Officials

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Public officials are elected by constituents to represent the needs of their communities. MS activists have a responsibility to connect with officials and share how MS has impacted their lives—communicating their needs. Learn about your elected officials and then work on building your relationship with them. Strong connections drive change. 

The role of elected officials is to represent the needs of their communities. MS activists must connect with them, share the stories of MS and communicate their needs. If given the opportunity to speak with an elected official, be brief and direct: what is multiple sclerosis, how has it impacted you and how would a policy change enhance or hinder your quality of life until we end MS forever. Couple your personal, real life experiences with facts like the financial impact of MS to explain the issue or opportunity.

Write, email (sample letter) or call

Schedule a meeting - you don’t have to go to Washington, D.C. Every member of Congress has one or more offices in their local district. Make an appointment or just stop by. Click here for advice to prepare for an in district meeting. If you’ve had a meeting, we’d love to hear about it.  Let us know who you met with, the issue you discussed, and how they responded.

Attend a Town Hall Meeting - Members of Congress hold regular town hall meetings or listening sessions with constituents in their districts. Usually these are held during Congressional recess. Call your legislator’s district office and ask about upcoming town hall meetings. Before attending a meeting, write out the question(s) you want to ask. If you want to talk through an MS issue, call your local advocacy staff. If you attend a meeting, we’d love to hear about it.

Learn about your elected officials

  • Who are they? Find out who your elected official are.
  • What are their backgrounds? What issues are they passionate about? If you already have personal connections to them, let us know.
  • Are your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators members of the Congressional MS Caucus? By joining the MS Caucus, legislators have shown a commitment to people affected by MS.

Connect and build relationships with your elected officials

  • Be brief and direct if given the opportunity to speak with an elected official : What MS is, how it has impacted you/your family, and how changing a policy would enhance or hinder your quality of life (until we end MS forever).
  • Contact your elected officials to share what is important to you and to ask for their support. Write a letter or email, or call by phone.
  • Harness the power of social media—an increasingly popular and effective way to connect with your elected officials—and become a digital activist
  • Visit your elected officials in person—it is the most effective means to develop a relationship and make an impact. You don’t have to be in Washington, D.C. as all federal legislators have offices in their home states, as do state legislators—of course. If you’re interested in visiting your elected officials, contact the advocacy staff in your area.
  • Attend a town hall meeting or listening session hosted by your Member of Congress in his/her home state or district (usually during Congressional recess). If you’re interested in attending a town hall meeting, call your legislator’s office or visit their website to learn about upcoming meetings that are relevant to issues you’re passionate about. You can also contact the advocacy staff in your area if you need advice on what to say or how best to connect.
  • Stay in touch in order to maintain relationships with your elected officials. Email or call them occasionally to update them on your issues, and thank them when you can.

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