Sample Conversations

1. Sample personal conversation between an elected official and his or her constituent regarding a health and/or human service issue.

Note : This conversation will most likely take place with the elected official and his or her staff person specializing in your issue, since you will have made the appointment before the meeting.

Official: Good afternoon. I am Senator Smith. How may I help you?
   
Visitor: Good afternoon, Senator. I am Dr. __________________ from ______________ county with the Texas Medical Association . As you know, our office is in your district. We have admired your work over the years and appreciate your leadership on behalf of health and human service programs.
   
Official: Thank you. I appreciate your kind comments. How may I help you?
   
Visitor: We are here today to speak with you (and your staff person, _____________) about ________________. We recently conducted a needs assessment in our community and found that ______________. This bill (or funding matter) will be of significant help in addressing this problem. We have prepared this one page fact sheet on this issue, and I will attach my business card for your reference. If we can provide you with further information on this issue, please feel free to contact me.
   
Official: This is a very informative fact sheet. It provides me with some understandable figures about the issue that I can quote on the Senate floor during the Senate's consideration of this matter. It also gives me some brief anecdotes about families in my district that are affected by this issue. Thank you for providing me with this information. I will have my staff person contact you when there is a public hearing on the bill, so that you can testify. Is there anything further I can do for you?
   
Visitor: No, you have been extremely helpful, and we are most appreciative of your concern and support. Thank you again for meeting with us today.
   
Official: You are welcome. Good-bye.

Note : Obviously, the details of the conversation will vary considerably from issue to issue. Also, if the matter is a funding item in the appropriations bill, you will be advised to proceed one way. If the matter is a statutory issue, then it will be dealt with in legislation, and you will proceed in yet another way. Know your legislative process, and how you want that legislator to help you (vote in committee, etc.) before you go see him or her, so you can specifically say how you need their help.

2.  Sample telephone conversation between an elected official and his or her constituent regarding a health and/or human service issue

Office: Good afternoon, Senator (Representative, Congressman/woman) Smith's office.
   
Caller: Hello. My name is __________________, and I am calling on behalf of the Texas Medical Association. Senator Smith will be voting soon on House Bill _____ relating to ___________. May I speak with the staff person who deals with that issue for the Senator, if the Senator is not available?
   
Office: Certainly, one moment please. This is Jane Doe. May I help you?
   
Caller: Yes, my name is __________________, and I am calling on behalf of the Texas Medical Association. Senator Smith will be voting soon on House Bill _____ relating to ___________. We would simply like for the Senator to know that we strongly support this legislation and would like her support on it.
   
Office: Thank you for calling. I will be happy to share your views with the Senator.
   
Caller: If you, or the Senator, would like additional information of how this bill will affect the medical community and our patients, I will be happy to provide it.
   
Office: Thank you. How can the Senator reach you?
   
Caller: You can reach me at ________________, PO Box _______, city, state, zip or by phone at _________________.
   
Office: I will give the Senator your message. Thank you for calling.
   
Caller: Thank you. Good-bye.

Note : Be prepared when you call to give some facts about how the bill will affect your community, service, program, etc. Hopefully, you have already sent this information in advance, and are simply calling to remind them of the information and to vote in favor of this bill. If the vote is to be taken some time in the future, follow up on your call with a letter confirming the conversation.


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