HEC to push for wetlands protection and community solar in 2024

Lessons in Meeting with Your Legislators

Mary Blackburn, Creation Care Advocate

I had signed up to learn more about effectively reaching out to legislators by registering for a Hoosier Environmental Council webinar. My goodness, I ended up learning more than I expected! 

As a volunteer at HEC, I have been active in helping with multiple tasks over the years.  When Dr. Indra Frank asked if I would volunteer for a special assignment, I couldn’t turn her down.  Instead of being an observer, I became a participant sharing some of our experiences as IFCL advocates meeting with legislators.

The webinar opened with Executive Director Sam Carpenter posing several questions to Senator Ron Alting, Republican, (SD-22 which consists mostly of Tippecanoe County) and to Representative Sue Errington, Democrat, (HD-34) of Muncie.  You can listen to the webinar and hear their helpful responses during the first 30 minutes.  Then I shared the following thoughts about ways we have found to help set up a meeting and approaches to take.  I encourage you to listen to the webinar, so you can increase your confidence in speaking up about issues you care about.  If you don’t speak, perhaps a loud and noisy minority that don’t share your views will speak up instead.

Here are a few suggestions for meeting with a legislator:

  • Invite them to speak at a neighborhood association meeting when the Indiana General Assembly is not in session.
  • Watch for events in your local community such as local farmer’s markets where they will be or participant in special rally days during the legislative session.
  • Call the office and ask to meet with your legislator. Always be courteous to their legislative assistants; they are legislator’s essential aides to maintain their calendars and manage their access.
  • Take a friend who lives in the district who shares your concern if you need support.
  • Prepare your thoughts before your meeting.  Be clear in your ask.
  • Present your thoughts, listen, when the time is right, make your “ask”.
  • Thank your legislator for meeting with you.  If they have supported something that you like, thank them.

HEC has two issues that they are focusing on in the 2024 session: access to community solar and improving wetlands protection.

What is Community Solar?

Indiana Wetlands Need You