Making Democracy Work

Action and Advocacy

We are truly a grassroots organization...

Advocacy Issues currently supported by the League

Overview

The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue or advocates for a cause when there is an existing League position that supports the issue or speaks to the cause.

Positions result from a process of study. Any given study, whether it be National, State, or Local, is thorough in its pursuit of facts and details. As the study progresses, a continuing discussion of pros and cons of each situation occurs. Prior to the results of the study being presented to the general membership, study committee members fashion consensus questions that are then addressed by the membership.

Additional discussion, pro and con, takes place as members (not part of the study committee) learn the scope of the study. After the members reach consensus, the board forms positions based on that consensus.

It is the consensus statement -- the statement resulting from the consensus questions -- that becomes a position. Firm action or advocacy can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action/advocacy cannot be taken.

Local LWVBTC Issues

The Local league continues to participate in the State study of consolidation of local government units and shared services.

We have adopted these local positions:

1. Support a countywide 911 emergency dispatch system in Broome County

2. Support the Broome County Council of Governments

3. Support a consolidated approach to water and wastewater planning in Broome County

4. Support reassessment at full value of all properties in Broome County in order to achieve more equitable distribution of taxes

5. Support full-scale separation and recycling in Broome and Tioga Counties

6. Support equitable apportionment of the Broome and Tioga County Legislatures

7. Support an elected executive for Broome County

8. The Broome County Legislature, the County Executive Branch including its agencies, and the State Board of Elections should provide operating expenses, adequate facilities, and administrative support as necessary to assure facilities for and operation of the Broome County Board of Elections

9. Support improved public transit in Broome and Tioga Counties

10. Support consolidation of local government services and local governments in Broome and Tioga Counties, provided that a valid feasibility study determines the level of services will remain the same or be improved and is cost effective. It is essential that all aspects of the process are well publicized and that citizen participation is encouraged

NY State and National Issues

For information on NYSLWV and National LWV advocacy and issues please follow the links below.

LWVNY webite http://lwvny.org/advocacy.html. Click on individual issues and memos for more information.

LWVUS website: http://www.lwv.org. The national issues are listed on the Home page. Additional issues are listed under the "ISSUES" tab.

Advocacy FAQ

Contacting your Representatives

Your elected officials work for you. They are influenced by ideas and information from their constituents.

How to reach your officials: Personal visits, telephoning, writing, or emailing can all be effective.

1. Face to face visits - lobbying your legislators is labor intensive, but very persuasive if your information is well organized and presented. You will need to make an appointment. State and federal legislators have offices in their home districts.

2. By phone - when time is short, a telephone call is a quick and simple way to take action. When the receptionist answers, all you need to do is say who you are, where you live and why you are calling. You can ask to speak with the legislator or the staff person who handles the issue.

3. By mail - Individually written letters, rather than mass generated form letters, make a greater impression. The longer format gives you space to make a good presentation of your facts and concerns. (Letters to federal officials may be delayed by security measures).

4. By email - Cost and time efficient. Be sure to include your postal address.

How to "talk" so your official will listen:

1. IDENTIFY yourself and give your home address/organization.

2. DESCRIBE the issue or bill that concerns you. Refer to bill number if possible.

3. Tell the legislator or staff person what ACTION you want.

4. State key REASONS for your views. Keep to 1 or 2 talking points in a phone call or email. If you are writing or lobbying in person, you can give local or personal examples as well as counter opposition arguments. Remember that too much information may confuse your message.

5. Limit your advocacy to ONE ISSUE.

6. Request a RESPONSE if you did not speak to your legislator.

7. Be POLITE and THANK them for their attention.

Note that your state and federal legislators have offices in their home districts as well as Albany and Washington. Your legislator's district office can be a valuable resource for information about current legislation.

How can I have more impact?

There is strength in numbers. Reaching out to others is the best way to increase your lobbying power.

1. Write a letter to the editor or a guest viewpoint. Meet with an editorial board.

2. Ask friends, neighbors and colleagues to contact their legislators.

3. Join a group working on your issue.

4. Attend forums. The local League of Women Voters sponsors public forums on current issues - see the calendar on our home page.

5. Get involved in an elections campaign.

What if I don't succeed? Good ideas can take a while to show up on the legislative radar screen. Increasing legislators' awareness of an issue and establishing your own credibility can help lay the groundwork for future success. If at first you don't succeed, keep trying!

How do I address correspondence to my state and federal legislators?

The Honorable (full name)

address (capitol or district office)

Advocacy Tools

Democracy is not a spectator sport. Acting as participants rather than spectators, citizens do make a difference. Be informed and advocate for your positions. Advocacy Tools will help you influence your government officials. One voice can make a difference.

Looking for your federal, state or local elected officials?

Want to look up current legislation and key votes?

Want to lobby or send emails, phone, or write to support or oppose specific issues?

Check out Take Action on the LWVUS website or the Citizen Action Tool Kit on the LWVNY website