This citizen action center offers advice on how citizens like you can take a few moments of your time to substantially impact policy in Oregon. The squeaky wheels get the grease, so speak out for freedom today!
Contact Your Legislator
Write a letter, email, or call.
A few moments can have a powerful impact on your legislator’s vote. First, take a moment to find your legislators at https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/
When you contact your legislator by email, letter, or phone, make sure to:
1) Identify yourself as a constituent, if you are in that legislator’s district. (State and city legislators will consider your views especially important if you are a constituent.)
2) Be polite: Use the legislator’s title when addressing him or her (for example, “Representative Doe” or “Governor Brown”).
3) State why you are contacting him or her (include a bill number if you can).
For example: “Please oppose S.B. 767”; “Do not support the cap and trade bill”
4) Briefly state a reason why you have this position.
a. Legislators are busy people. If you write a letter or an email, keep it short (no more than 3 paragraphs, unless you have a personal story that you wish to share). If you call, keep your message short.
For example: “S.B. 767 will limit parents’ ability to choose the best school for their children,” or “Cap and trade will hurt my family and my business by increasing our expenses.”
b. Keep informed about policy in Oregon by reading our weekly e-newsletter – sign up now!
5) Do it now! Your message does not need to be perfect. A simple message now is better than none at all.
6) Encourage a friend to do the same.
Visit the Capitol
You can have an especially powerful impact in Salem when you show up in person. When you visit your legislator’s office, you have his or her attention, and as a constituent, you are a priority. You can make an appointment to meet with your legislators to share your policy concerns. Other effective activities in Salem include attending relevant hearings and rallies at the Capitol.
Meet with your legislator: Click here to find your legislator.
1) Schedule a meeting: Contact your legislator’s office, and make an appointment to come in.
2) Be on time (you will probably only have 10-15 minutes, and they often keep a tight schedule).
3) Be polite.
4) Prepare key points to share about your position.
• Remember, personal stories are very effective!
• You can learn relevant facts from Cascade’s publications (sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter), or by contacting Cascade for more information.
5) Ask for your legislator’s support and for his/her position on the legislation.
6) It is okay to say “I don’t know” – you don’t have to know everything to have a valid opinion.
7) Thank your legislator for his or her time.
Attending a Hearing: Attending and testifying at hearings can have a powerful effect on a bill’s momentum. If you are interested in attending hearings that Cascade considers especially important, please contact Cascade for more information. If you want to testify at a hearing, you can read the legislature’s instructions for testimony at https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/committees/Pages/How-To-Testify.aspx.
Attending Rallies: Stand up for freedom in Oregon. Contact Cascade for information about upcoming hearings and events or sign up for Cascade’s weekly e-newsletter, the Cascade Courier, to keep updated about protests and rallies.
Persuasive Letters to the Editor, Op-Eds, and Blog Posts
Writing a letter to the editor, writing blogs, or commenting on blogs and newspapers online can help sway popular opinion by presenting important facts or reasoning. When writing letters or commenting, this advice may be helpful to you:
- Be polite. Comment on actions, avoiding personal attacks.
2. Be specific. When commenting on an article, mention the title and day that the article was published. Summarize political views to which you refer. Don’t assume the reader knows what you’re talking about: Explain what you mean.
3. Stay focused and be concise. Deal with one issue or article. The Oregonian’s letter limit is 150 words; op-ed limit is 500 words. Using fewer words increases the likelihood of getting your letter printed.
4. Use facts and figures to back up your arguments. You can find facts and figures on Cascade’s website to support many pro-freedom/free-market arguments. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are writing within Cascade’s field of expertise and you need help with facts.
5. Use humor, when appropriate.
6. Check for clarity and grammar. Run spell check, and look for grammatical errors. Read your letter out loud to make sure it is clear and logical.
7. Include all the required or important information about yourself. When sending a letter to the editor, include your name, city, and telephone number. Include relevant qualifications, if appropriate. Blog posts and comments are also more persuasive when you’re willing to take responsibility for your opinions by using your real name.
8. Blog posts can be edgier, but you still should not attack individuals.
Here are some useful local and state blogs to read and join in the discussion:
Oregon Catalyst – Cascade’s main place to blog
Blue Oregon – “progressive” Oregon politics
Businomics – Cascade chairman Bill Conerly’s blog
The Antiplanner – Cato Institute’s Randal O’Toole’s blog on land use and transportation issues