ChesterCountyMedicineSpring2019 - 29

For the constituent, the district meeting is equally important.
It presents a unique opportunity to personally discuss a key issue
and advocate for or against specific legislative action in almost
a "safe zone," far away from the busy schedule of a session day
under the capitol dome. In fact, that makes it valuable to both
the legislator and constituent alike.
Physicians should know that there are a few common sense
principles to guide them as they prepare for a successful meeting
with their legislator:
* All Politics is Local - Being a constituent from the
legislator's district is important.
* Voters are Invested - Being a registered and regular
voter, regardless of your party affiliation, is equally
* Confirm the Meeting - Once the date, time & place
are set, contact the legislator's office to confirm the meeting
24-48 hours in advance. Be prepared to provide the names
of those expected to attend and the primary issues to be

$14.95 per month plus taxes and fees.

* Research - If you are discussing a specific legislative bill,
go online and see if the legislator is already a sponsor or if he/
she serves on the committee that may consider the bill.
* Follow Policy - If you are representing an organization,
know their policy on the bill or issue. Enhance the
discussion with your own views and insights, but don't create
new policies (or problems).
* Ignore Party Labels - Most important legislation
passes with bi-partisan support. It's not important that the
legislator you visit is in the majority party, all legislators have
a vote.

voting schedule set by leadership. Having a key staffer sit in
for your legislator, or having the legislator quickly stop for an
introduction, actually signifies the importance of your meeting.

* Ask, Don't Tell - It is important to "ask" for help in
addressing an issue or problem, without "telling" the
legislator what he/she "must" do.

* Share - If you are representing an organization, the leaders
and professional staff of the group will be anxious to hear from
you following the meeting.

* Questions - If the legislator has questions, don't invent
answers. Find the appropriate response and contact the
office with your follow up answer.
* Thank You - A brief email of thanks is always appreciated.
And, if you are asking for a vote for or against a bill - and the
legislator makes that vote - make sure that you express your
appreciation in a letter or email.

Keep in mind that the final basic principle is to plan a next
meeting, either to follow up on your issue or to explore common
ground on other health care policy matters. If the goal is to
establish a relationship, then it is critical that you don't show up
only for the big ask on a pending bill.
And remember that the relationship is as important for the
legislator as it is for you.

* Staff are Important - Meetings in either Washington,
DC or Harrisburg are typically held on days when the
legislator's schedule is driven by the committee meetings and

SPRING 2019 | CHESTER COUNT Y Medicine 29


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