What You Can Do

 

       KNOW YOUR LEGISLATORS!! You have two state legislators. These are the two people you need to know, and they need to know you. Your U.S congressional leaders are important individuals too, but they have little influence and cannot change laws within the state of Minnesota. This is the responsibility of the policy makers within Minnesota.

 

       Look for your legislators now. Write their information below.

o         www.e-people.org/letter/write

o         MN Capitol 651/296-2146

 

State Senator: ___________________________Phone: ______________

 

State Representative: ____________________Phone: ______________

 

       Your next step will be to meet with your legislators. They want to meet with you. It is very easy to arrange for a meeting. It is their job to listen to your concerns. Your time with them will be limited, so be prepared to get your message across in a short period of time.

 

       Prior to meeting with your legislator, you may want to call CPR to see if someone has already talked with your legislator. This may give you an insight on what your legislator already knows. It may also give you an idea of how to approach this individual. And, it gives CPR a way to track which legislators have been contacted and recap what you learned from your meeting.

 

       When you communicate with your legislator, dont get angry. These issues are emotional, but you are the person that needs to communicate a constructive message that will lead to change. Focus on the issue. Do not demonize an individual. Critique a bill that you support or object to, but do not demonize an individual.

 

       Legislators deal with a lot of issues. Your issue is amongst hundreds. And amongst these hundreds, your issue may have little interest to a legislator who is focused on agricultural, finance, roads, etc. You need to assume that this is the first time theyve heard about this issue. You need to be able to talk in terms they understand. You are the expert when you talk with your legislator. You need to communicate it in a manner thats understood and respected.

 

 

Be Prepared

 

       Before talking with your legislators, take the time to put what you want to say on paper!! This is very important. It will help you keep your legislator on track with the message that you are delivering to him/her. The notes/letter that you write should fit on one page. You will also want to leave this letter, and other support materials, with your legislator. You will use this same construct if you chose to speak at public hearings.

 

       If you arrange a 15 minute meeting, here is how you might want structure your letter and further expand it into your conversation. If you can arrange more time. Focus on the general problem and solutions, not your personal story. It is difficult not to get wrapped up in your personal story, but concentrate on the bigger picture.

 

o         Share your personal story and how it has impacted your family. Spend less than 2 minutes on this. As much as you think your story is unique, it needs to be generalized, so your legislator can understand that this problem impacts thousands of families and not just yours.

o         Describe the bigger issue. This will consume about 7-8 minutes. This is where you need to communicate the CPR mission. This is where you will discuss why change is necessary. This is where you will want to be in control of the conversation and convince your legislator that there is a serious problem to be addressed.

o         Provide a solution. This will take about 5 minutes. This is where a specific bill will be discussed. This is where the highlights of the bill will be presented. This is where the conversation will discuss how the bill, or proposed legislation, will solve the previously discussed problem.

o         Finally, know where your legislator stands on the issue. It is VERY IMPORTANT to get a commitment or ensure that a follow-up conversation occurs to get your legislators stand on the issue.

o         If there are questions that you are not comfortable answering, tell him/her that you dont know the answer and that you will obtain the information and get back to them in a short period of time. Be sure to follow through on your commitment.

 

       Dont hesitate to call someone to go with you. Call CPR to arrange someone to go with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this He set aside, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:14

 

CPR Vision Statement: An inter-denominational, faith-based, bi-partisan, gender-neutral, tax-exempt public policy and educational organization to protect the civil rights of both parents to protect the children.

CPR Organization Mission: Bold advocacy, practical education, and compassionate support, through thoughtful, thorough, and accurate analysis that leads people to responsible action that influences less government and protects the rights and responsibilities of both parents, to encourage healthy development and best interests of children, to resolve differences so that fractured families will be strengthened.

 

CPR educational booklets are updated regularly. If you have suggestions on how to improve this brochure, please notify us. For current release of this brochure, visit our website.

CPR educational booklets do not purport to give legal advice. The information contained herein is general in nature; individual circumstances will always vary. We recommend you consult an attorney for advice and legal representation.

CPR is in the process of applying for non-profit status, CPR is currently under umbrella of tax-exempt 501 c(3) organization, Providence House

 

2003 may be copied by permission only derivative works or reproductions are a violation of copyright without prior authorization from CPR

 


Why and How to Contact Your Legislators

Educational Booklet #MD03-03

 

 

 

 

 

MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

The purpose of this informational series to help you position and present yourself in a way that will result in a greatly likelihood of the result you want. This series will help position you to make a difference for your personal case and for the cause as a whole, as you help to advocate for change to prevent others from having to go through what you have. This is a series of empowerment how to take your energies, time, and talents and help facilitate social change.

 

 

 

 

 

Prepared By:

CPR

Center For Parental Responsibility

P.O. Box 130776

Roseville, MN 55113

 

CPR Voicemail: 651/490-9277

Website: cpr-mn.org

Email: info@cpr-mn.org

 

 

 

Latest Update: January 5, 2003

 

 

The January 2004 meeting topic was how and why to make a difference through legislative advocacy and education. Most of us knew nothing about politics before the laws starting impacting our families in a negative way. It is the state laws that have been made by your elected officials that perpetuate and escalate the conflict in our fractured families. Legislators make laws to ensure fair and reasonable outcomes. Legislators MUST be told that current law does not promote this vision; but in fact, the current laws are making or families worse instead of better. Legislators need to know the devastation that their laws are causing to you and your children (remember to focus on the children you assume they know, but they dont). If your legislators are not willing to work to change the laws, then YOU have the power to vote them out of office and vote someone else in. Legislators only change laws when they hear from powerful advocacy groups and constituents who can strip them of their legislative position through their votes. You CAN make a difference. Telling your story to your legislator WILL have impact. It has been said that if a legislator receives similar complaints from 6 different constituents they consider it a big problem to be looked at, because so few citizens actually get involved. YOU are the critical mass, if you dont do anything, we wont have the critical mass we need to prove to legislators that there is a family law problem and the problem is getting worse instead of better. Explain your personal story be able to do that succinctly in 10 minutes or less explain the problems you and your children face with related to custody, visitation, bias in the courts, financial devastation when child support orders are excessive, and that it does no good to take a fathers drivers license away because of child support arrears, and any other kinds of issues specific to your situation.

 

Legislators are starting to realize that fathers and children are being harmed, and we must keep that message growing. Write your story (in 2 pages or less) and send it to your legislator. Call and ask for an appointment visit with them face-to-face, so they place a problem with a face, and a face with a voter. If you get asked questions you dont know the answer to, tell them you want them to talk with someone from CPR give them our contact information, and let us know (info@cpr-mn.org) that we should call them for a follow-up appointment. Grandparents can have a great impact if you are a non-custodial parent, your parents (the grandparents) have probably been negatively effected please encourage them to talk to their legislators as well. Find out when hearings are taking place on family law issues, and attend hearings as an observer to learn more about the process.