As a republic, we elect “our neighbors” to represent us at the Capitol. Come and see some of them at Senior Day 2019 on March 13. Remember that we voters, to be sure the issues we care about get some attention under the dome, must respectfully contact our elected officials. They do want your input and yes, they are very busy people. So how to get that attention? Here is some information you need to know:
- If you send a legislator an email or letter, identify yourself as living in the district they represent and make your message short and to the point. Legislators pay more attention to opinions and comments coming from citizens living in their district.
- In your message, get to the point and keep it simple with a few key points. If you have statistics or facts about an issue, these can be very valuable to the legislator in forming an opinion about your issue.
- Understand that legislators are very busy. They have many demands on their time. They often have long hearings and sessions in the Capitol along with community events to attend.
- During the legislative session legislators are their busiest when the long (spending) bill is thoroughly reviewed in late March and during the last few weeks of the session.
- In general, each legislator may introduce five bills in each session, and sometimes more. There are 100 legislators in Colorado, so this works out to 500+ bills that are reviewed each legislative session.
- Bills are drafted over the summer or fall and must be in the hands of Legislative Legal Services (LLS) by November. LLS writes the bills, which requires knowledge of existing statutes, experience, and legal skills.
- Leadership of each house assigns legislators to committees. Legislators typically request certain committees.
- Each legislator has a part-time aide who is restricted to 800 hours per session. These are typically young and ambitious people with a strong interest in politics and public service. The pay is low AND they work long hours with very full days. When you call in treat them well because they can help you get access to your legislator.
- Always be respectful of your legislator’s time, both in informal meetings and in committee meetings.
- Become a member of Colorado Senior Lobby and join us in our work.
The Colorado Senior Lobby website has more tips about contacting legislators and is available to help you figure out who to contact about your issue.
The Colorado Senior Lobby website has an always present link to the Colorado General Assembly website to their Find My Legislator webpage. Even if you don’t have an “issue” yet, find your legislator and district for both the Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado Senate. Write this information down and keep it handy – better yet memorize it.
Now when you are reading or watching news, listen for your legislators’ names and follow what they are talking about. Better yet, sign up for your legislators’ emails and town halls. With this approach, when an issue comes up you will be ready to contact your elected officials.
Senior Day at the Capitol is March 13, 2019. The entire event this year is the Scottish Rite Masonic Center at 1370 North Grant, diagonally across from the Capitol. Join us and enjoy learning more about some of the possible futures for mobility, health care, reducing isolation. More details on our website; support our work and amplify your voice by becoming a member.
Article by Colorado Senior Lobby