October 6, 2020
Does contacting my representatives make a difference?
Elected officials work hard to represent the interests of their constituents at the capitol and local, state and national levels. These offices want to hear input from the communities they represent. Personal testimonies, pictures, and stories are important tools for elected officials to use in debates over clean energy issues. It is you, the neighbors and constituents that these elected officials rely upon.
You don’t have to be a lobbyist to talk with legislators. For example, this past March more than 200 clean energy business owners, employees and supporters filled the halls of Minnesota’s capitol for Clean Energy Business Day. Nearly half of the attendees made time in their day to schedule a meeting with their legislator. That was a huge way to show up collectively and tell legislators exactly how and why clean energy policy matters.
How do I find my representatives?
Don’t know who your local elected officials are? There are many online tools available to help in your search. We recommend: https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative
How do I research my representatives’ opinions on clean energy?
The first place to look at the opinions of legislators is through their office or campaign websites. Find your local candidates and look through their key issues. You may see positions related to energy and environmental topics related to clean energy.
In the Minnesota legislature, elected officials’ votes are recorded online in the Minnesota Member Database. Here, you can find what committees your representatives are on and what issues they fight for most at the capitol. You can also use this great tool from Conservation MN to see how representatives voted on energy issues.
How do I voice my support for clean energy?
Clean energy is a topic that every elected representative should be knowledgeable about. It impacts workers in their districts and the state as a whole. However, many legislators may have just a surface-level understanding of how and why clean energy is important to you -- don’t assume they know everything on every topic! If you support clean energy and clean energy policies, you can let your representatives know in a variety of ways. Whether you choose to call, write a letter, email or use social media to get in touch with your legislators, there are a few things you should consider for effective communication:
State your name and district/zip code/address - Introduce yourself and establish that you are a constituent and would like to talk about his/her clean energy policies. If you are contacting a federal legislator, you can ask to speak to a staff member that works on energy issues.
Make it personal - tell your story. When representatives fight for causes you care about, personal testimonies are powerful tools to use. Voice your own story and how clean energy positively impacts your life and your community.
Know your issues - if there is a particular bill that you do/do not support, read up on the proposal and mention it specifically in your communications. Many elected officials may not know the details of the bill, but if you can help them understand it, you’ll have the opportunity to help influence their votes or actions.
You can also find current issues that CEEM is watching on our Policy Page. You can also find data and facts to support your opinions on our Clean Jobs page and our Minnesota State Energy Factsheet page.
If possible, remove the politics - Remind them that clean energy is a winning issue with you and your neighbors. A 2018 poll by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions indicated that nationally 81% of voters would vote for a candidate that supports clean energy development like wind or solar. Simply put, clean energy is a winning issue with the public. Reminding them of this broad support can help elected officials feel empowered to take action.
Can I ask CEEM to help?
Please feel free to reach out to Benjamin, CEEM’s Director of Government Affairs if you have any questions or would like help in addressing your concerns with your legislators.