Getting to Know Your Legislators
Taking the time to learn about your legislators is an invaluable asset to your advocacy efforts at any level of government. Legislators’ personal history informs their public policy decisions and provides information that you can use to make connections with them. Biography and background information about your legislators is available from a variety of sources.
Find Your Federal and State Legislators
- The Alliance’s advocacy tools include a complete federal legislator search. Use your zip code to identify your federal and state legislators, and office and contact information for your federal legislators’ Washington, DC and local offices. You will also find basic bio information, key staff names and committee assignments as well as district office information.
House and Senate Websites
- Both the House and Senate maintain websites with information about chamber procedures, individual members, committees and committee activity, calendars and legislation currently being considered.
Member Websites & Social Media
- Members’ individual websites provide good insight into which issues they are most passionate about, what issues they are taking action on and the committees and caucuses in which they participate. Keep an eye on press releases and other public statements legislators are making as an indicator of their current priorities. Most members of Congress are on social media (Facebook, Twitter) and regularly distribute email newsletters to their constituents.
- Signing up for these free newsletters and following your legislators on Facebook and Twitter can provide invaluable insight into your legislators’ priorities and local activities, including town halls, constituent conference calls and other online and virtual opportunities to interact and speak up for museums. Use our legislator directory to find your legislators on social media. Remember, you don’t have to like your legislators to “like” your legislators!
General Web and News Search
- A Google or Google News search can reveal additional information about your legislator’s activity in Congress or the community, or about previous public offices they have held. You can also do searches and set up automatic alerts for your legislators’ names and key issues or topics. And don’t forget the local media–local newspapers and websites are a great place to find coverage of activities your elected officials have attended or are holding, or to find material such as op-eds or letters to the editor written by them.
- Communicating about issues that are important to you, your community and your work is also a good way to engage your legislators and learn more about their thinking. Sending a letter lets them know what issues matter to you, and starts a dialogue with them and their staff. Use our templates to send a message today.