How to connect with your representatives
Engaging with decision-makers can be intimidating, but there are many ways you can make your voice heard. Here are some helpful tips:
Help your legislators represent you. As elected officials, your legislators represent your district and you. Expressing your concerns and what you would like to see happen in your home district empowers them to make sure your interests are being represented.
Make your message hit close to home. Remember, your legislators live in the same area that you do. Your kids may go to the same school, you may visit the same parks or ride the same trails.
Find where your interests, not politics, align. We know that protecting our natural resources and connecting people with the outdoors has multiple benefits. Find how those benefits align with the interests of your legislators. You both care about your home district, but what else do you share? A desire to create an Iowa that the next generation is proud to call home? Supporting the development of local businesses? Improving Iowans’ quality of life, physical health and mental health?
No matter how you choose to contact your legislator, it’s important to remember a few things:
- Introduce yourself. Where do you live, what do you do, what do you want to talk with them about?
- Provide details using personal experience or resources included in this guide. See below for examples on personalizing your message.
- Make the ask. Respectfully ask that your legislator support or fund a program that you care about. You may ask for support of more than one program.
- Thank them for their service.
Make it personal
- “Senator xxx,
I have am a native of Centerville and have owned a small business on the town square for over 10 years. In developing my business, I have found that Lake Rathbun and Honey Creek Resort have fueled our local economic development, and I would like for the state to support the development of a trail between the lake and our historic town square.”
- “I respectfully ask that you work with your fellow state leaders to fund the Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund so that Appanoose County may benefit from the economic development opportunities Alternatively, I ask that State Recreational Trails Program be funded at $18 million to help develop trails throughout rural Iowa.”