With the Michigan legislature now on holiday break, there are no more legislative sessions for the year 2011. No more bills passed. No more committee meetings. No more Action Alerts.
But, that does not mean now is still not a good time to advocate for the outdoors.
Contrary to what many people think, legislators do not spend the entire time they are out of session sitting on a sunny beach sipping drinks with umbrellas in them, or going into an early winter hibernation. In fact, most legislators use this time away from Lansing to reconnect with the issues going on in their districts by holding town-halls, office hours, and setting up individual meetings.
Don’t believe me? Find your legislator by clicking here for your Michigan Representative or Michigan Senator and call or email their office. They can fill you in on the availabilities of your Representative or Senator and can inform you about any possible office hour or coffee meet and greets they may be putting on until they return to session in mid-January.
If nothing else, you can see about setting up a personal meeting with them to talk about sportsmen’s issues – and anything else your heart desires (usually about a half hour maximum).
It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway—having a personal connection to your legislator is very important to advocating for and advancing sportsmen’s issues in Michigan.
Even a minimal effort on your part, like going to an office hour or making a personal phone call to them, can make a big difference in the long run. Don’t have their direct number? Call your legislator’s office and politely request that they return your call when it is convenient for them. You’ll be surprised how often that request will be granted.
The more you can engage your legislator in a respectful way, the more they will get to know you and come to see you as someone knowledgeable and trusted on sportsmen’s and conservation issues.
As we look towards advocating for the rights of sportsmen and women to hunt, fish, trap, and enjoy the outdoors in 2012, consider using what is left of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 to help make a difference by getting to know your legislator. Over the last couple of months, sportsmen and women have been making a difference in Lansing by making their voices heard. Let’s continue that trend in 2012.
MUCC will continue to provide you recommendations, tips, and opportunities for you to get involved in the future.
In the meantime, have a Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. And don’t forget - if you aren’t talking to your legislator, someone else is!