Building Relationships with State Legislators

Building relationships with legislators will provide you with opportunities to work more closely with them to get bills introduced, assist in drafting bill language, shape the debate on the issue and, ultimately, get legislation signed into law.

It is critical that you establish and maintain solid and consistent relationships with legislators not only when the legislature is in session, but also between sessions. When the legislature is not in session, legislators have more time to meet with you. By developing these relationships you can easily contact legislators for assistance when bills become active.

Also, many legislators have town hall meetings, district meetings and other special events in their districts when the legislature is not in session. Attend these events to get to know a legislator and his or her staff. Do some research prior to attending the event. Find out, for example, if the legislator has a son or daughter in dental school or is married to a dentist or dental hygienist. Perhaps during previous legislative sessions the legislator filed bills that support the dental education community. Find out where the legislator went to school; maybe you both attended the same institution. Use your best judgment and your social skills; these are only suggestions for opening up conversation.