The following legislative learning resources prepare youth for meeting with city, county, state or national legislators, or learning about civic engagement.
Preparing for a Legislative Visit
Our democracy centers on citizen involvement. It is your right, and your responsibility as a citizen, to share your opinions with your elected officials.
It's important to be prepared when you meet with a legislator. Learn important information about them that can guide your conversation. Their name, political party, length of service. What committees are they assigned to? What are their special interests and their priorities? What are the names of their top staff members?
If the purpose of your visit is to share your 4-H story, review your knowledge of Extension and 4-H. Some resources have been listed at the bottom of this page. Review the names of your extension staff members at the state and county level. Review the names of your elected Extension Council members. What information about your state or community do you think helps support your topics of interest related to 4-H? Why is 4-H a valuable program to you and to your community? Are there national 4-H statistics that relate to your personal story?
What to Wear
It is important to present yourself in a professional manner when meeting with legislators. Wear business casual or business professional attire. This could include: solid-color polo shirts, collared shirts, khaki or dress pants or skirts, optional ties, blazers or cardigans, leather-style or dress shoes. Do not wear casual items such as jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, sweatshirts.
Talking with Legislators
Start your meeting with a smile and a handshake. Address your legislator with their proper name and title.
As a constituent, you are important to your representatives. You reflect attitudes and feelings about their concerns. Be positive in your discussion, regardless of the topic. Be honest. Answer all questions candidly. If you don't know an answer, let them know you'd be willing to find an answer and write them later.
Speak factually. Support your opinions with accurate, reliable facts. Listen to others, ask questions. Be a strong and articulate advocate for the things that matter to you.
If you are visiting to share your 4-H story, conduct yourself as a representative of Iowa 4-H, your local 4-H program, and 4-H members, leaders and parents.
Keep your discussion short and simple. You may only have five to ten minutes, so get to the point as soon as you've introduced yourself. Be clear about why you are there, why they should care, and what you want. Prepare one to two sentences to lead with, prior to your visit.
Thank them for their time. Express your appreciation for their time and their attention.
After Your Visit
Write personal thank you letters to everyone you met. If possible, find a way to share your experience with your club members or other 4-H members from your county.