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Lobbying at Town Halls

During the Town Hall

  • Prepare thoughtful arguments, specific points, good data, and a clear agenda. Ask short questions that focus on a limited number of issues. Decide in advance if you are okay with talking to media and plan your key messages.
  • Bring your personal story. Limit your story to about two minutes, explaining why the issue is so important to you personally and how it can make a difference for you and others like you.
  • Go in groups. Participate with your chapter, coalition partners, or another group. It’s hard for a legislator to ignore a mass of like-minded people with the same agenda. Sit separately to distribute support throughout the room.
  • Find staff members beforehand, and ask if there is a queue to register to ask a question.
  • Speak respectfully. Don’t bring disrespectful signs or stand near people who have them.
  • Hold your ground. Don’t allow the elected official to dodge your question. Maintain a respectful insistence, and never interrupt a speaker, whether a legislator, staffer, or attendee.
  • Remember all the communities you represent. You can be part of a company, advocacy, or social or racial justice group.

After the Town Hall

Content from the National Council on Aging and PFLAG
  • Reinforce your presence and comments by following up after a town hall meeting with a phone call or email to the office of your elected official. Make sure to thank the organizers of the town hall. Send the legislative assistant one of our policy one-pagers to make sure they have information on your issue.
  • Keep showing up at town hall meetings and displaying interest, and it will be hard for you to be ignored.
  • Share details about your experience at the town hall with friends, family, and on social media. Do not make any statements supporting or opposing political parties, per 501(c)(3) guidelines.