I Have a Meeting With a Legislator, Now What?

by by State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr. Chair, Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy, and REALTOR® | May 27, 2015
Whether you are meeting your State Legislator on Main St. or Beacon Hill, the first thing to do is just simply relax. Just like everyone else, legislators are busy working professionals with multiple priorities that compete for our time. Often, we find ourselves running from meeting to meeting, fielding phone calls, text messages, and wondering if we locked the back door. In the midst of all of this, it’s the simple, but sometimes overlooked tactics that work best when approaching an elected official.
The world of politics, particularly at the national level, is rife with attacks. People use a difference in opinion as an excuse to abandon civility. This is a big mistake. The importance of treating another person with respect cannot be over stated. This is true regardless of whether you fall to the left or right side of the political spectrum. One point that my colleagues and I on Beacon Hill take pride in is treating our counterparts with dignity and respecting all viewpoints.

Here are some tips for your visit to Beacon Hill.

Schedule a meeting in advance

This is always the best course if possible. This way we will have time set aside exclusively to assist you and give your issue our full attention. We will always be able to
talk to you with a quick hello in the hallways, but consider the benefit of an appointment. On that note, it is usually a good thing to know who our scheduler is. A successful legislator always has a person behind the scenes, keeping track of the details. Our staffers are crucial to a successful operation.

What’s the big picture?

Everyday legislators are approached by people trying to get our attention on a wide variety of issues. Focus on the big picture and how your policy initiative will benefit a broad constituency base. If possible, give us a list of pros and cons to your idea and
let us know if you have created a collaborative relationship.

Keep your message clear and focused

As Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, my colleagues and I on the Committee are confronted with a number of complex regulatory issues that require significant time and attention. Come prepared and ready to explain, in simple terms, why your bill deserves the attention of the Committee.

Of interest to REALTORS®

As a way of a heads up, the Committee is looking into a number of policy initiatives this
session that would be beneficial to homeowners and renters. These issues include energy efficiency, pipeline infrastructure safety and development, and increased access to rooftop solar. Access to solar and other energy efficiency programs is important for
residential home buyers, business owners, and property investors. I look forward to the
Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® Day on Beacon Hill and seeing my fellow REALTORS® this year on June 10th.