You too, can influence your legislator — a post from a new lobbyist

EMIT’s goal is to inform voters so they feel confident and knowledgeable [enough] to meet FACE TO FACE with their state representative and senator in Massachusetts. EMIT supporters are also invited to join in an informal “walk-around” to visit legislators and their aides to inform them about criminal justice reform bills pending at the statehouse.

This post below is from Colleen Kirby of Arlington who joined a Feb. 25 “walk-around” [“lobbyist” has such negative connotations] to inform our legislators and staffers to implement reform. You can do it, too! The next workaround is Wednesday, March 18, 10:30 am to 2:30 pm [come for any part of it], meet in Sen. Eldridge’s office, Room 314. RSVP to emit . susan at g mail to get a cell phone connection.

I had a great time spending the day lobbying legislators to support Bail Reform and ending Mandatory Minimum sentencing for drug crimes. I do not have a deep knowledge of the issues but Susan convinced me I could still be a help.  Susan had three prepared handouts with all the information needed that to start a conversation and leave with the legislator so they would know EMIT, and where to go for more information. 

Because EMIT had already given a copy of “The New Jim Crow” By Michelle Alexander  to all legislators, there was another point of reference to ask them about.  Many had read it, or had the book close at hand in their “to read” pile. 

Many of the aides and state representatives we talked to were conversant on these bills or had an interest in the subject or other bills such as the Jobs not Jails omnibus bill and the Restorative Justice bill. 

Having two people or three people go around together to speak meant that if you ever felt like a deer in headlights, you could just go quiet and the other person would fill in the gaps.  I was surprised that there was probably only one question we weren’t able to answer right away.

I highly recommend going and speaking with the Mass. Statehouse aides and representatives.  These bills already have a lot of support and they are interested in learning about them, especially if you have something to leave them with, such as a synopsis of the bill or some data about other states that have implemented them and their success. 

–Colleen Kirby (first time lobbyist to legislators at the Statehouse)

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