Now is the time – contact your State Legislator!

Now that the 127th Maine Legislature is in session, it is the perfect time to call and introduce yourself to your State Representative and State Senator.  As a former legislator, I can tell you that one individual really can make a difference, if you choose to engage with your elected officials.

Start by calling your Representative and Senator, and simply introduce yourself; who you are, where you live, and maybe a bit about your background.  And then suggest a meeting to follow up.  In Maine, we have a citizen's legislature, designed with the intention of having those who are elected be approachable by their constituents.  There are not many states where official state business cards including the home address and phone number, but that's how we do it here!

Now is the time to develop a relationship with your elected officials.  Let them know what issues you care about, in what areas you have expertise and experience that might be helpful to them.  Consider offering to be a resource for issues that matter to you.  Legislators are bombarded with information from so many sources, it's sometimes difficult to determine which are credible.  If you are up for it, most elected officials will be most appreciative of your interest and energy.

Finally, now is the time to let your elected officials know on which issues they might expect to hear from you.  It may be premature to ask them to vote a certain way; issues are complex and legislation can change dramatically through the course of public hearings, work sessions, and even amendments offered in the House or Senate.  Just let your legislators know which components of an issue are most important, and offer your expertise throughout the process.

Here is the link where you can find out who your Legislators are and their contact information: 
http://www.maine.gov/portal/government/edemocracy/lookup_voter_info

The current list of Bill Titles submitted for the 127th is here.  Each week, you can view the bills that have been printed here and read the text, view the sponsors of the bill and check in on the bill's status as it moves through the Legislative and Executive branches.

I encourage you to start today, with a brief phone call or email leaving your contact information and your offer to connect. Your Legislators need to hear from Maine people, businesses, organizations and communities around the state.  They are elected by the people to serve the people and are your voice in Augusta.

As the year progresses, GrowSmart Maine will help keep you up to date on legislation and other actions relevant to protecting Maine's special places and growing our economy to create sustainable prosperity for all Mainers.

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