Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tips for Calling Your Florida Representative or Florida Senator

 Tips for calling your Florida Representative or Florida Senator: 

  • If you live in their district, be sure to let them know.  Your representatives* always want to hear from constituents.**
  • Call anytime.  Voicemails are okay, even if you don’t speak to someone.  Just be sure to modify the call script to make more sense for a voicemail instead of a live call.
  • Be kind and respectful.  Some Senators and Representatives will already be on our side.  You may also speak with an intern or staff member who’s just doing their job.  Smile when you dial!
  • Practice what you’ll say before dialing so your point comes across clearly and confidently.
  • Be concise.  If you don’t use the suggested scripts, just make sure you reiterate the singular ask of the person you're calling at least twice.  For example, say "please vote no on House Bill 1" at least twice during your call or your voicemail message.
  • Make your calls timely.  Your fellow volunteer leaders and staff members will try our best to make sure your calls are made at the most effective moment.  Follow instructions on when and whom to call.

 Did You Know. . . 

Most advocacy or policy calls take less than 2 minutes?  It's a very low time commitment but still the most effective way to communicate with your representatives!

 Who do I call? 

Sierra Club volunteer leaders and staff will often let you know whom to call, so be sure to stick with that guidance.  But if you need to find your state/Florida and federal/US representatives, you can use this link: www.myfloridahouse.gov/FindYourRepresentative

 What's All This Mean, Anyway? 

*representative = This can be confusing!  If you see "representative," with a small "r," that is a generic term for anyone who represents you at any level of government.  If you see "Representative" with a big "R," that is an official title of an elected official, such as Representative Gonzalez, and it can mean someone at the federal (US) or state (Florida) levels.  When we say representative (small r), we are often talking about both Representatives and Senators in a generic sense, but it can also encompass Mayors, County Commissioners, and other elected officials.

Another layer of potential confusion?  When we use "representative" or "Representative" in the shorthand it can look like "rep." or "Rep."  Sometimes "Rep." can also be used to indicate the Republican political party.  It's best to double-check someone's intent when using the shorthand "Rep." to avoid confusion.

**Constituent = "a member of a constituency; a component part of something."  For our purposes, a constituent is a person who lives in a district represented by an individual.  You are a constituent of multiple people at multiple levels of government, including federal, state, county, and city.