An effective way to galvanize support for animal protection issues and legislation is to participate in your federal, state and local legislators’ town hall meetings and community forums. Attending and speaking at these events will help you build a trusted connection with your legislators on behalf of animal protection.
Before the meeting:
- Sign up to receive your legislators’ e-newsletters via their websites and note in your calendar when they’re holding upcoming in-district town hall meetings, coffee socials and other events. It’s also helpful to look up the issues your legislators care about the most to better understand their background and viewpoints.
- Invite others to attend with you and provide them with brief background information on the issue or bill, talking points and a sample question for the legislator.
- If you’re meeting with your U.S. Congressional Representative or one of your two U.S. Senators, review our Priority Federal Legislation Talking Points [PDF], so that you’re familiar with our priority federal animal protection bills. Then go to www.congress.gov to determine which of our priority bills your U.S. Representative and/or U.S. Senators have cosponsored. Simply type the bill number in the search box, hit enter and then you’ll be able to click on cosponsors to see if they are a cosponsor of that bill.
- Line up speakers to speak or ask questions. If your lawmaker is supportive of your issue(s) and any related legislation, a show of support helps to solidify their position.
- Give some thought to how the legislator might respond to your questions and prepare in advance with answers and follow-up questions.
At the meeting:
- Conduct yourself professionally and politely when attending and speaking.
- Publicly thank your legislators for co-sponsoring any current or past HSUS animal protection priority bills and urge them to co-sponsor those they are not yet publicly supporting.
- Keep your comments brief, clear and concise.
- If you attend with a group, wear appropriate stickers or buttons to identify that you are all in support of a common issue.
After the meeting:
- Call, email or send a thank you note to your legislator and their district office to thank them for hosting the event and for listening to your thoughts or questions. Many people contact their legislators when they are unhappy about something, but too few take the time to express their appreciation. You can help animal protection issues stand out from the crowd by consistently letting your legislator know that you appreciate their animal protection efforts.
- Be sure to follow their voting record and politely and consistently contact them before and/or after they vote on important animal protection bills.