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HOW & WHY TO SPEAK WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

Dear ND Colleague, Patient or Advocate:  We are working to get legislation into the 2017 session (which began Jan. 7th) that will allow drug prescriptive authority. We need your help to be successful in that effort.

Each CT ND needs to:

  • contact their legislators (CT State Senator and Representative)
  • make an introduction, get a meeting time to speak with them
  • have an education dialogue about Naturopathic Medicine, explain how you practice and highlight the healthcare benefits you bring to the citizens that live in their district and ask for their support of our legislation.  Patients and advocates can speak about the benefits of working with an ND.
  • ask your legislator to support and allow naturopathic physicians (NDs) the same prescriptive authority consistent with many other states that license NDs.

REMEMBER… This is a joint effort between University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine and the CNPA.  UB needs this law updated so it can more efficiently meet its education mandate and provide more primary care services in UB Clinics.  UB is an integral part of this effort so remember to include this in your discussions with legislators.  Please read the information guide below that walks you through how to contact and speak with “your” legislators.

Now is the time to lay the groundwork for successful legislative grass roots lobbying. This is the perfect opportunity to educate your local State Senator and State Representative about the Naturopathic Medical profession and inform them of issues and concerns you have as advocates for quality health care and patients’ rights.

CNPA’s government relations team has provided the following information to us about effective techniques to apprise state legislators of issues important to the Naturopathic Medicine profession.  Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with this document—it has a number of easy, common-sense tips for effective relationship building with public officials that represent you.

#1 – FIND YOUR LEGISLATOR

Find your State Senators and House Rep from your district by doing the following.

  1. FIRST OPTION – Go to http://www.cbia.com/ga/get_involved/contact_ct_legislators/. Scroll down and locate “Find Legislators by Zip + 4”.  Enter 9 digit zip code, your district legislators will display.  If you need the 9 digit zip go here. https://tools.usps.com/go/ZipLookupAction!input.action
  1. SECOND OPTION – Go to http://cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp it is a little wonky to navigate but it does work.

#2 – CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR TO SET A MEET TIME

  • Don’t call before 9:00 A.M. or after 9:00 P.M.  Try to reach the legislator at the Legislative Office Building or their District office first, his/her business second, at home third and e-mail as a final choice to set up an appointment.  Send an email that introduces you and tells them that you will be calling to request a time to meet with them or that you have set up an appointment and you look forward to speaking with them.  Invite him/her out for a cup of coffee to discuss issues of concern that will need to be addressed legislatively.  Invite the lawmaker to your office/place of business.  BE PERSISTENT and get an appointment ASAP.
  • The lawmaker’s staff is an important member of his/her team.  On occasion, you might be asked to talk with a staffer—please do so.  The staffer may set up your appointment.
  • Focus on the State Senator(s) “and” State Representative(s) that represent the address of your home residence.  You are a constituent—they will be happy to talk with you.
  • Meeting with legislators establishes a relationship, provides education and understanding of our Profession and provides an opportunity to ask for their support for what we seek.
  • Public Health Committee (PHC) Members are KEY LEGISLATORS.  If your legislator is on the PHC it is essential that you meet with them have a dialogue and establish a relationship and educate them about your profession and issues. (CLICK HERE for PHC Members contact information).

#3 – SPEAK WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR

Stay on Point with The Message:  Use the documents listed below.  Read and understand these thoroughly before you speak with your legislators.

  • Executive Summary (CLICK HERE, can leave with Legislator)
  • Power Point Presentation (CLICK HERE for ND preparation info only, do not leave with legislator)
  • Brady UB College Nat Med Note (CLICK HERE for ND preparation info only, do not leave with legislator)
  • Vermont Naturopathic Prescribing 2013 – VT (CLICK HERE for Document from Office of Professional Regulation (for ND preparation info only, do not leave with legislator).
  • WHAT TO SAY: Use documents provided.  Promise to send them some piece of info so you can have another contact with them. Ask your legislator to support and allow naturopathic physicians (NDs) the same prescriptive authority consistent with many other states that license NDs.
  • Expect questions you will not be able to answer. Do not bluff. If you are asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, get back to the legislator with the answers or information that has been requested.
  • Be respectful and appreciative of the legislator’s time. A legislator may not always be able to support your position. Remember that an adversary on one issue may be a supporter on another issue.
  • Send a follow-up letter and thank you note to the legislator.

Stay away from the following pitfalls:

  • Don’t try to cover too many issues.
  • Don’t use a form letter.
  • Don’t use jargon or speak negatively about other practitioners.
  • Don’t make a political contribution (or offer to do so) at the same time that you are discussing legislative matters.

#4 – FOLLOW UP AFTER YOUR MEETING

Once you have met with a legislator email Rick Liva ND a summary of how it went and what transpired.  Our lobbyist needs this information.  rickliva@yournaturalhealth.com

There is strength in numbers. Every member of the association should take responsibility for communicating with his/her legislators.

Use the news media (Letters to the editor, news stories, guest editorials) to create public support for your position.  Email your patients and ask for help by contacting and speaking with their legislators.

In closing, remember that legislators have the interests of their constituents at heart and want to establish positive, effective public policy for the citizens of the State of Connecticut.  At the same time, you are exercising your First Amendment right to petition the government in contacting them.   This is true “Democracy in Action”—we hope that your experience is productive, meaningful and fun!

Thank you for your help.  If you have questions or need guidance please email Rick Liva ND rickliva@yournaturalhealth.com or Jackie Germain (CNPA Secretary) jgermain@yournaturalhealth.com.