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Steps for Legislator Meetings

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To: NAMI Affiliate Presidents and members

Re: Suggested steps for meeting with legislators

From: Jim Jordan

We are requesting that each Affiliate meet with their State Representatives and Senators in the officialsí local offices. The request should, where possible, come from the Affiliate President.  The request should be for a meeting to discuss the Governorís proposed budget. In preparation for this meeting, we suggest that the following steps be taken:

  1. Select up to four persons who will meet with the legislator.

  2.  Select a group leader for this discussion.  The leader should be a person who can best discuss the proposed budget.

  3. Meet as a group prior to the meeting with the legislator.

  4. Review and use the talking points to make the presentation.

  5. Make a request that the meeting take place in the legislatorís local office.

  6. Identify yourself as a representative of the local NAMI Affiliate.

  7. Briefly explain what NAMI is if they are not familiar.

  8.  Request 30 minutes. But accept time that is offered. Be respectful of Legislatorís time.

  9.  Notify state office regarding any meetings that are scheduled.

  10. Agree to a meeting with staff if legislator is not available. This meeting should be handled as if you are meeting with the legislator. Remember that this person is an extension of the official and should be respected.

  11.  Limit presentation to 10 minutes.  Remember not to compete with one another. Let selected speaker lead conversation. SUPPORT one another. The focus should be on the budget.

  12. Answer questions as presented. Do not present yourselves as budget experts or mental health clinical experts. If you do not have an answer indicate that you do not know, but that you will  get back with additional information. Credibility is essential to be effective. Do not make any recommendations regarding cuts to specific programs or support one program or agency over another.

  13. Request that the legislator commit to support the NAMI position to restore cuts. Note: you may not get a firm commitment. Do not become aggressive.

  14.  If you do not get a commitment of support, reiterate that we appreciate their consideration of our position. Ask if they need additional information. 

  15. Ask to be kept in loop so that you are informed when a decision is made.

  16. Take basic information about NAMI to meeting.  Include membership information. Request that legislator make NAMI information available in their office.

  17.  Indicate the time and location of the next affiliate meeting and invite the legislator to attend and speak.

  18. Thank the legislator or staff member and indicate that you will brief your membership regarding the meeting.

  19. Brief State office of outcome and follow up of meeting.


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