FastFred's Motorcycle Rights E-zine: Biker Rights, Events, Articles, and Pictures
Helmet Law Map | Articles | Photos | Product Reviews | Patches and Stickers | Links | Join Ezine

Lobbying 101: How to be a Biker Lobbyist

Why Lobby?

To make biker rights a reality, you must convince legislators that your position makes sense. Visiting a legislator is an essential tactic for furthering your campaign. Lobby visits can be made on the local, state, or national level, depending on the particular issue you are supporting. A lobby visit can be an incredibly rewarding experience, and all bikers should meet with their elected officials to discuss motorcyclists rights issues.

Be Prepared

Know the issue. You can get information about legislation from ABATE of SC's Legislative Coordinator or from ABATE of SC's Legislative Action Center.

Prepare Position Papers

Gather your facts and organize them into a one sided (two, only if absolutely necessary) page fact sheet. This will be the form that you will hand in to your representatives. Remember to be as concise as possible.

Make an Appointment

It is always a good idea to make an appointment to be sure that the appropriate people will be in the office. Remember, staffers and members have busy schedules. If you just show up, you will most likely only get to drop off your materials with a front-desk administrator who probably will not be able to discuss your issue. You can easily find your representatives contact info using your zip code at ABATE of SC's Legislative Action Center.

Before the Visit

Dress appropriately for your visit or in other words wear your leather. When you wear leather not only do the legislators you visit know you were there and why but so do all the other legislators who see you walking the halls. Bring extra copies of your fact sheets. Check the status of the bill that you are lobbying, and find out who has co-sponsored it. If possible, try and form a delegation by bringing friends who are also from your district. If they are not from your district, you have no obligation to divulge this fact if you are not asked, but also do NOT lie if asked.

Visit the Bill's Sponsor

If you are lobbying for a particular piece of legislation, it is a good idea to call or visit the bill's sponsor before lobbying. They usually will be very eager to assist you in reaching the right members and will offer input on ways to present the issue.

The Opening of Your Visit

It is important to be as relaxed as possible during your visit. Expect to be a little nervous. If you have a delegation with you, choose a primary speaker based on familiarity with the issue and speaking skills. Introduce yourself to your representatives or their legislative aides (LAs). Let them know what bill or issue you are interested in, how you feel about the bill, and how it will affect you. Try to make this part as clear and concise as possible.

Answer Only Questions That You Know

Answer questions and offer your side of a stance. If you do not know an answer, tell your representative that you will get back to them. NEVER make up an answer. If you give out incorrect information, you will eliminate the credibility of yourself . Offering to get back to them also offers you a chance to re-familiarize them with your topic.

Don't Get Mean

After discussing the issue, if your representative or LA does not give you an answer that you want to hear politely thank them for their time, let them know that you still hold your position, urge them to reconsider, and politely leave. Do not get argumentative. Remember LAs and representatives are people, too, and may hold their stance more rigidly if you are unreasonable with them. No one likes working with someone who refuses to negotiate.

Be Flexible

If your representative opposes the bill that you want, see if you can come up with some common ground. Always offer to follow up on any new developments, and ALWAYS make sure that your fact sheet has all of your contact information.

Follow Up

After your visit, it is important that you follow up on any questions that you were unable to answer. Always send a note thanking your representative or LA for their time. If necessary, set up another appointment if you need to follow up on a new slant or topic. If your representative does what you told them to do, then be sure to thank them and let them know that you appreciate their efforts.

Benefits of the Visit

Your visit will not only help to persuade your representative, but it will also be an educational experience for you. During your visit, you will get an inside look at the political climate, and get insight on how to better promote your issue. Never be afraid to ask an LA a question about the actual mechanics behind government.

Contact FastFred

Biker Sticker/Patch - Don't Tread on Me - I Refuse to Allow My Civil Servant to Run My Life
If you enjoy this website please consider making a donation; supporters receive patches and stickers.

© 2000-2005 FastFred's Motorcycle Rights E-zine.