The Arkansas Legislature meets on odd-numbered years in regular years. Healthcare and related bills are followed closely by our chapter. Our members are informed through our weekly Legislative Updates featuring Call to Action bulletins as needed. See the Advocacy page for more legislative information.
Key Contact Program
This program matches a family physician with a member of the State Congress and State House of Representatives. As a Key Contact, you will keep your legislative member informed of our position on legislation that affects family medicine. There is a great need for legislators to provide expertise and background knowledge so that they can make informed decisions. Fortunately, this role does not require a lot of time. Just a few minutes to make a call, send an email or take your legislator to lunch can make a significant difference in our success. Call us at 501-316-4011 to sign up!
Grassroots Advocacy 101
Remember that you have a reciprocal relationship with your legislators. They do love to hear from constituents and need to hear from healthcare professionals like yourself. Get ready to use your voice!
- Be Thankful
Start by thanking your representative or senator for serving the people of Arkansas. They can not be experts in every subject so they also appreciate your expertise.
- Be Ready
Always introduce yourself even if you have met before. Have a clear “ask” in mind before you meet. If you are meeting in person you may meet with a staff person instead of your legislator and the meeting will usually be less than 15 minutes. If you call or email, keep it simple by hitting your key points. Be sure to know the history of the issue, how your legislator voted if possible. Have something to leave behind, a flyer with relevant facts or your business card will work. If meeting in person be sure to arrive early so you have time to get through security. Remember to silence your cell phone but feel free to have your picture made with your legislator.
- Be Reasonable and Understanding
Be ready to listen to questions and be honest if you don’t know the answer to something. Be sure to find out the answer and get back in touch. Put yourself in your legislator’s place and try to understand their problems and perspective. When you try to be understanding, you are much more likely to be understood. Don’t indulge in threats or recriminations if you have a difference of opinion.
- Follow up and Keep in Touch
Be sure to send a thank-you note even if you did not get the answer you were seeking. Make a note to call or email again every two or three months and just offer to be a healthcare resource if your legislator ever has any questions or needs an expert opinion.