Please feel free to contact me to share your questions, concerns, and ideas. Your voice is very important to me!
Top 10 Ways to Participate in State Government
- Call my office – to weigh in on an issue, ask a question of legislative staff, get information on a bill or issue, or schedule a meeting.
- E-mail me at Rep.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write a letter: State Capitol, PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708
- Attend my monthly office hours: for at least 2 hours a month, I'll be at an accessible location around the district specifically to hear from you on any issue. My monthly office hours are advertised in the newspapers and on Facebook.
- Get involved in meetings, forums, and events in the district – I like to attend as many meetings and events in Portage County than I can. See you at the next one!
- Social media – You can catch me on Facebook and Twitter, especially when we're in committee or session: Facebook.com/Assembly71, Twitter: @Repshankland. Note that private messages sent to my social media accounts are not monitored by staff and may have a longer response time than contacting me by phone and email.
- Joint Finance Committee Listening Sessions – The Joint Finance Committee travels across the state to take input on the state's biennial budget. Testify at a public listening session near you – but be prepared to wait a few hours to speak, depending on what time you get there. Sometimes testimony is limited to two minutes.
- Testify at a public hearing on a bill – You can participate in the policymaking process by testifying on legislation at a public hearing. Fill out a hearing slip with your name and position on the bill, then wait to testify. Share your personal story and how the legislation would affect you. Please let me know if you are planning to come to the Capitol to testify and would like any assistance. It's a great way to add your voice!
- Workplace and School Visits – I really enjoy spending time touring businesses, nonprofits, and meeting with school groups in the district – ask for a visit!
- Visit the Capitol – Come to the Capitol! I'm always grateful to meet with constituents in the Capitol. The best days to come to advocate on an issue are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, when most legislators are in the Capitol for committee meetings, session days, and legislative business. Schedule a meeting in advance!
Tips for Effective Advocacy
- Become an expert on an issue and develop relationships with staff and the elected official when possible.
- Stick to a positive message, buoyed by personal story and facts.
- When advocating for an issue, focus your message so it’s simple and understandable.
- In person meetings are the most effective. Phone and email are effective. Form letters and petitions are the least effective.
- When scheduling a meeting, make sure to include: name and organization, time and location of the meeting (provide multiple options if possible), list of everyone attending, meeting topic, and contact information.
- Prepare for your meeting! Bring handouts, do your research, and don’t be nervous. Allow yourself plenty of time to find the correct room and understand that sometimes legislators are in committee hearings, taking votes on a session day, or in the district. It is equally important to meet with staff.