Meeting with Your Council Person
Meeting with your council members to request that they address your concerns is a vital part of the democratic process. Your council is there to serve you, their constituent, and input from you helps them represent you more effectively. Being prepared for the meeting makes it easier for your council member to move forward with the process and pass a resolution working with you and your fellow citizens.
The first step is to find a council member willing to introduce a resolution. The best place to start is with the one who represents your neighborhood. To find your representative, go to your town or city’s official website and locate the Council page. Call your council member and schedule an appointment to discuss introducing a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related cases. Many will ask you to put your request in writing. We have prepared a sample letter to help you.
Be persistent in setting up the meeting. Council members are busy, and you may end up meeting with a staff person. Either way, do not feel like you are being impolite if you contact the office more than once to remind them about your request to meet.
Once you have scheduled a meeting, you’ll need to prepare for it. Here are some things to consider and links to documents to include in an information packet that you should bring with you to your meeting:
Council member’s questions: In many cases, your job is not to convince your council member that she or he should support the amendment, but instead to convince your council member that she or he can and that doing so will help her or him tremendously in the eyes of the electorate.
Your council member is likely to ask you some questions, such as:
- What is your goal? Sample Resolution Language (PDF)
- Why is this important? Here is a fact sheet you can share. (PDF)
- What relevance does this have for our community? Corporations have spent a huge amount of money to unseat elected officials, including city council-members in the wake of Citizens United. This document discusses the local impact. (PDF)
- Is there public support for a resolution like this? Polls indicate the answer to this question is a resounding YES across all parties. Here is another one: Seven in 10 Would Send Super PACs Packing. Also, good information about businesses speaking out against Citizens United: Small Businesses Poll Strongly Against Citizens United (PDF); Business Statement calling to Overturn Citizens United (PDF);
Timeline: Once your council member agrees to introduce a resolution, discuss a timeline and strategy for getting the resolution passed. You will want to know when the resolution is going to be introduced so that you can plan an effective press event for maximum visibility.