Tips For Lobbying State Legislators

It’s Simpler Than You Probably Think

by John Carey, CHEWV’s Legislative Liaison

Visiting the State Capitol

When visiting the State Capitol, make sure to drop by your representatives’ offices and introduce yourself and your family. A simple meeting, in and of itself, has value to support homeschooling even if you are not lobbying for a particular issue.

If your representatives have time, ask them where they live, how long they have been in office and if they enjoy serving. You may find that you have the same friends as well as other things in common. Come prepared to tell them why you chose to homeschool and why you like it.  Be brief, recognizing they may be busy with little time to talk. 

I like to mention that when we began homeschooling, we decided year to year if we would continue, until one day my ten-year-old daughter Vicki was excitedly telling her friends about the characters in a book that I had read for the first time in college. I was stunned that she and her friends had already read the book – and could see that she was way ahead of me at the same age.

Making a Difference Back at Home

We are fortunate to have a citizen legislature. citizen legislature is a legislative chamber made up primarily of citizens who have a full-time occupation outside of being legislator. Those who represent us in Charleston live and work among us most of the year.  Therefore, we not only have the opportunity to meet with legislators in Charleston during the two-month regular session, but also during the remainder of the year when they are living in or near our home towns.  This is our bigger opportunity to make concerns heard and understood, and to put a face on our issues. 

There is an increased urgency to get to know legislators this year than in the past because there has been such a high percentage of turnover in recent years. At least 20 percent are new to the job of representing constituents, and just about as many are new to homeschooling.  On an encouraging note, more legislators than ever either homeschool themselves or have grandchildren who are homeschooled.

Lobbying is simply influencing our legislators.  A citizen legislature provides many opportunities to influence both in Charleston and at home.  Let’s make the most of the opportunities that our West Virginia state government provides by coming to the Home School Day at the Capitol this year.  Here is a link to learn more.

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