Developing a Relationship
The President of the United States is not the only "end all, be all" political position anyone should ever worry about. It is imperative that we pay attention to state and local politics and get involved. This is who we need to protect us when things get ugly (*Insert 2021 here*).
Here are some tips from Health Freedom Pennsylvania’s leader for developing a relationship & speaking with Pennsylvania legislators.
• Know who your representatives (house) and senator (senate) are. Enter your address to find out here or use a search engine and type in "Find my Pennsylvania legislators".
• Save their websites and phone numbers on your phone.
• Sign up for their emails and follow them on social media. Be respectful on social media. The last thing anyone is going to do is speak with someone who has called names or been openly critical of their work.
• Get to know their office staff. Be kind to them. I have gotten their staff members to give me "secrets" by smoothing them and creating relationships just with their staff.
• PAY ATTENTION to what they are doing. Know about them, the committees they are on, and what seems important to them. Their events, their town halls, legislation they are sponsoring, and co-sponsoring. This is up to each of you to know what is going on within your district. One person or group cannot keep up with what each state legislator is up to. There are literally over 250+ of them between senators and representatives, let alone what our regulatory agencies are doing. Please report back to HFPA if you feel there is something we need to know about. This is TRULY what is meant by we are "in this together".
• Always go as yourself, a concerned citizen/constituent. We do not want to go as any type of group. It is easy to dismiss someone if they do not like the group - this could be for a variety of reasons as to why someone does or does not like a particular group or organization.
• Research everything you can about your state senator and representative. This is an important component in developing a solid relationship with them. Try to find something in common with them, it will help to develop good rapport and build a level of trust before engaging in conversation. Find a way to connect with them by complimenting their work and finding a genuine way of connecting with them. Remember that they are people too! They like being noticed and acknowledged for their work.
• You are about to speak to them about a controversial topic - asking them to receive a message they may not be ready to hear yet as Health Choice can be a difficult topic to discuss.
• Never underestimate the power of planting a seed.
• Put it back onto them. What are they going to do about the problem you are coming to them about? Ask questions that you don't expect them to answer that day... Leave them thinking. THIS IS IMPORTANT (UNFORTUNATELY) - make it about money. An example of this is "How will Pennsylvania be able to balance a budget when you are looking at a cost of _________? No matter what committee or cause a legislator takes on any topic... they ALWAYS need to be aware of "balancing a budget and paying for things in our state".
• Know that you may not be able to change their mind at all-because they (just like most people) have been programmed to believe something completely different than the message you are bringing them. It is a lot to process as a person and a politician but leaves them wondering about a potential problem they will have to solve in the future, a question they cannot simply answer but they need to find a solution to because it will affect them AND Pennsylvania's future.
• This topic is incredibly difficult for "normal" people. Just like others in all aspects of life, people have concerns that this could affect their personal and professional lives. Another important aspect to keep in mind is that they may have to accept or have to come to terms with the fact that they may have been "duped" by the system they have so much trust in - they ALSO may have put their child's life at risk by participating in the [email protected]((ine program. That is a VERY difficult pill to swallow for ANYONE.
• Regardless of how your meeting goes, please be respectful. Please NEVER tell any politician that they "work for you". While that is true, it is disrespectful and a sure way for them to completely shut down and never receive any message you are trying to deliver to them.
• Write them a "Thank You" note.
• Continue to engage, support, and follow up with them and ask them what you can do for them. This is a RELATIONSHIP. We cannot keep taking from them and their time without giving something back to them. Volunteering time for their campaign is something that you can offer up when it is time for them to start that process. Collecting signatures on petitions to get on the ballot, door knocking, delivering campaign signs, and helping their campaign at the polls on election days are examples of helping out and "returning a favor” or of course, financial donations.
• This is not a one-time deal, this your duty. Staying on top of what is happening in your district and state is our Constitutional responsibility to our country and families. If 2020 has shown us anything, it is that we will never be asleep again as to what is happening in our own districts, our state, and our country.
• Get involved on a county level by getting involved and volunteering on your county's political committee. Run for city/town council, school board, etc.