Challenge for the New Year

Written by Sharolyn Smith, Oregon Right to Life Political Director

By the time you are reading this, the 2024 legislative session will be in full motion. Our lobby day will have just passed, but there is still a need for Oregonians to show up on behalf of unborn life. Your legislator was voted in and is currently representing you and your family in the legislature, whether it was your ideal result or not. Now, they need to hear from you.

In our representative form of government, the relationship between constituents and their elected representatives holds immense significance. Connecting with your representatives and engaging in the legislative process not only ensures effective representation but also strengthens the foundations of our republic. 

Lobbying can feel like a scary word; I know it was for me. But I want to set a challenge for you in 2024: take one step further in advocacy. Don’t know where to start? Identify your representatives and schedule a meeting.

It is an incredible opportunity, a responsibility I do not take lightly, to represent Oregon Right to Life and pro-life advocates across Oregon in the Capitol. There’s plenty I’m still learning, but there’s also one thing I know for sure: I cannot do my job alone. I need the support and the voices of pro-life Oregonians to push this important message.

Below are three tips for meeting with your legislator.

  • Do your research

Before the meeting, gather information about your legislator’s background, political beliefs and voting record on relevant issues. This research will help you understand their perspective and tailor your approach or arguments accordingly. Additionally, be well-informed about the topic you wish to discuss and come prepared with facts, statistics and examples to support your position.

The best part? Oregon Right to Life has already done this work for you when it comes to pro-life issues. Reach out or visit to get connected with the information you need. 

  • Be concise and focused

Though meeting with constituents is important to them, legislators often have packed schedules and limited time, so it is crucial to be concise and to the point. Clearly articulate the purpose of your meeting at the beginning and state your main concerns or requests concisely. Prepare a short and persuasive elevator pitch summarizing your key points. Avoid unnecessary tangents and focus on the most important aspects of your message.

  • Build a relationship

Try to establish a genuine connection with your legislator beyond the current meeting. Engage in active listening, show respect for their views and be open to constructive dialogue. Building a positive relationship can make your interactions more fruitful in the future. After the meeting, send a personalized follow-up email expressing gratitude and summarizing the key takeaways. This polite step will help maintain the connection and increase the likelihood of your legislator remembering your conversation.

I would love to hear how meetings with your legislators go! Get in touch with me at


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