Advice for First-Time Activists: Pick a Passion and Meet Lawmakers Face to Face

“What’s important for people who are becoming newly engaged is to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint.”

By Kate GroetzingerFebruary 15, 2017 9:30 am, , ,

From KUT

If you’ve never watched the Texas legislative process before, heading to the Capitol for the first time can be daunting. Connecting with existing groups could be the best way to get involved with the process.

“Don’t feel like you have to become an expert yourself,” said Ann Beeson, director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a left-leaning state policy think tank. “There are lots of organizations out there that that’s their job, and they can help you both really understand policy issues and develop talking points.”

Constituents who focus on just one or two issues are the most effective advocates, she said.

“Get clear on what issues you’re most passionate about and identify organizations that align with those interests, that work on those interests, and that believe in your values and connect with them,” she said.

Emily Cook, political director of Texas Right to Life, agrees that keeping activists focused on a single issue has worked well for the anti-abortion movement, whose members are very active and engaged.

“I just got out of a meeting with a state representative and he said, ‘I signed on to one of your bills because I had several constituents call or email or ask about this specific bill,’” she said.

Activists across the political spectrum say the best way to get lawmakers to listen is to meet with them face to face. To do that, Kelly Darby started a group called Texans Focus on Children in early January to advocate for increased funding of Child Protective Services.

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