Dear Addy: New Legislator

Dear Addy,
My district elected a new member of Congress in the mid-term election and I’d like to start building a relationship with them. How can I connect with my legislator as they prepare to take office?
Proactive Advocate

Dear Proactive,
It’s never too early to start building a relationship with your new legislator. Whether on the campaign trail or after an election, it’s important that your legislator know who you are and what you care about. Health care was a top issue for voters in the 2018 mid-term election so your legislators should be paying close attention to constituent stories about access to care.
Newly elected legislators are in the process of hiring staff and setting up the platforms they’ll use to communicate with constituents. Until everything is set up, use your legislator’s campaign website and social media to reach out. Campaign staff can put you in contact with the new legislator’s staff as they are hired. Use HFA’s Legislative Day Toolkit for support with your outreach and monitor HFA’s Take Action Center for updates on contact information.
Now is a good time to brush up on your civic education as well. If you want to know more about what your legislator does, check out Congressional Management Foundation’s Job Description for a Member of Congress. This is a great guide to understanding your legislator’s role.
If your current legislator is leaving Congress and you previously developed a relationship with their office, consider sending them a thank you note before the 115th Congress concludes on Jan. 3, 2019. You never know what your legislator may do after their time in office!
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HFA frequently receives questions from the bleeding disorders community related to advocacy issues. The questions often impact the entire community. In an effort to reach the largest audience possible with our responses to these widely applicable questions, HFA developed “Dear Addy.” Questions submitted to this column are edited in order to protect privacy and should be considered educational only, not individual guidance.