Tips for Letter Writing
- Address envelope to “The Honorable Delegate/Senator (name)”
- Address letter to “Delegate/Senator”
- Be concise
- Let your legislator know you appreciate his/her efforts
- Briefly explain your situation. See Tips for Telling Your Story (below) for ideas
- Ask to meet or speak with him/her over the phone if a meeting is not possible
- If you have not had a response within two weeks, call to follow-up
We have been told it makes a big difference when a legislator receives personalized, traditional letters from at least eight different constituents. Help us strengthen our voice. Ask nearby friends/family to join you in a letter writing campaign!
Visit Your Legislator
- Contact the office of the Delegate/Senator beforehand to make an appointment
- Consider inviting the legislator to visit you at your home
- Bring copies of your personal story and a picture
- Prepare an “elevator speech”. If you had only 90 seconds to get your point across, what would you say?
- Contact The Arc of Virginia for materials, assistance and advice on meeting your legislator
- Send a thank-you note afterwards
Tips for Telling Your Story
- If you are on a wait list, how would services help you?
- What are your dreams, hopes and goals? What support do you need to make these happen?
- Have you lived in an institution? What was that like? How is life different now?
- What support services does your family member need to live A Life Like Yours?
- How would cuts to services affect you?
- Are you on a Medicaid Waiver wait list? How would Wavier services help you? What is life like for your family? How long have you been waiting?
- Would you ever “choose” an institution for your family member?
- Why is it important to provide community-based services in lieu of institutionalization?
- What services do you provide? How do they help people with I/DD live A Life Like Yours?
- How would the people you support be affected by cuts to services?
Friends and Concerned Citizens
- Why do you feel compelled to speak out for people with developmental disabilities?
- As a constituent, why is your legislator’s support of people with I/DD important to you?
- Why is it important to provide community-based services to prevent institutionalization?
- As a taxpayer, how is investing in institutional models of care (which are known to be more expensive than community-based care) an ineffective/inefficient use of state dollars
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