Despite what many people think, setting up a meeting with a politician is not difficult. The first person you need to contact is their assistant.
When you call to arrange a meeting (do this by phone, not e-mail or through social media), be prepared for the assistant to ask a lot of questions. They may try to engage you in a debate about the issue or try to discourage you from asking for a meeting. Sometimes they will offer to schedule a meeting, but won’t give you a firm commitment.
Don’t let this discourage you. Here are some tips to help you succeed:
- Ask for the meeting as a constituent. If you are not a constituent, ask for a meeting as a representative of local workers, some of whom are constituents.
- When asked about the nature of the meeting, give a short answer such as: “I speak on behalf of many workers in the community (or region) and would like to discuss some specific issues with my/their elected representative.”
- If the assistant tries to argue with you, discourage you, or even change your mind about asking for a meeting, do not engage in a debate or discussion. Continue to insist that you want to speak with your local representative in person.
- If needed, remind the assistant that you have the right to meet with your elected representative as a constituent and a voter.
- Press for a commitment on a date and time convenient for you.
- If you cannot get a meeting, e-mail the elected representative directly, or phone their other office (sometimes there is more than one office in the constituency, as well as an office at the legislature).
- If you get a meeting, follow up with their office staff, to confirm the details a few days before you attend, including how many people will accompany you.