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Home > News > How to ... > How to arrange a town meeting

How to arrange a town meeting


Posted: February 17th, 2009 @ 9:59pm


Lawmakers hold town meetings to provide a public forum for discussing timely issues or to hear what his or her constituents are concerned about. These meetings provide an excellent opportunity to get your concerns to your lawmaker. Sometimes these events are well publicized, but just as often they are not.

Here are a few suggestions on how to take advantage of town meeting to convey your message.



BEFORE THE MEETING

Call district office (sometimes DC office) to get time and place -begin to establish a friendly relationship with the scheduler
  • Assemble a coalition of interested organizations to attend
  • Recruit new members to attend (good opportunity to get them involved)
  • Include the press (see more on that below)
  • Meet with coalition ahead of time:
    1. Prepare questions - print up copies for everyone in attendance
    2. Prepare press statement and choose relevant fact sheets
    3. Assign roles of: note taker (make sure to write down names of staff people), press person (to deliver press statement), follow-up letter writer.


AT THE MEETING
  • Pack the meeting with your people
  • Scatter your people among the audience
  • Have everyone raise their hands, ready to ask prepared questions
  • Give fact sheets to lawmaker and staff present


AFTER THE MEETING
  • Send a follow-up letter that includes thanks, unanswered questions, and fact sheets
  • Let your organization know what your lawmaker had to say


PRESS COVERAGE AT TOWN MEETINGS

Often the only way to get your member's attention is to attract media to a town meeting. Below is a check list that maybe helpful:
  • Contact local media and urge them to cover the meeting
  • Write a press release
  • Fax the press release to the press, and make follow up calls to reporters
  • Prepare someone in your group to give a statement provide fact sheets and articles to reporters or camera operators
  • Have visuals for TV if appropriate (buttons, t-shirts, signs, etc.)
  • Follow up with the press if they covered your story - get to know the reporters
  • If you are more ambitious and feel it is appropriate, your group could hold a press conference before or after the town meeting




DOCUMENTS
may open pdf files




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