Lobbying Resources

Lobbying Resources

Grassroots involvement of members in every corner of the state is the heart of the association’s lobbying strategy. Although the ISEA’s full-time lobbyists play a key role during the legislative session, legislators want–and need–to hear how their actions impact children and education back home.

Lobbying isn’t hard–and it can be fun. You don’t have to be an expert on school finance, or anything else, but you are the expert on how legislation will affect your students and your school.

Engage

The ISEA’s Engage network makes it easy to find your legislator, track bills that are important to Iowa’s public school students and professionals and to take action.

Make a promise to yourself with the ISEA Commit to Engage card. Simply download the card, print it out and fill it out. Return the card to your building representative or local president. We put two copies of the card on the download so you can take one for yourself and share one with a colleague. Or print a whole bunch and share with every member in your building. Or you can fill out an electronic version of the card by clicking this link.

ISEA Hotline and lawmaker forums

The ISEA Hotline is weekly roundup of what’s moving at the Statehouse with a particular focus on what will affect Iowa’s public education students and professionals. You can find the most recent ISEA Hotline and an archive here. Note: you must be a member and logged in to the site to access the archive.

Keep your elected officials grounded in the world outside of the Capitol and attend your legislative forums.

More background

Need something to talk about? Here are the ISEA legislative priorities.

Refresh your knowledge Iowa legislative process.

Communicate like a pro with the legislative terminology guide.

Watch floor debate as it happens with the livestream from the Iowa Legislature.

Tips for phoning legislators

To find your state legislator’s phone number, you may use our searchable online Iowa Legislative Directory or call the Senate switchboard at 515-281-3371 or the House switchboard at 515-281-3221.

Keep in mind that most telephone calls are taken by a staff member and not the actual legislator. If they are not available, you may also leave a message. If you speak with someone other than your legislator, take down their name.

Upon reaching your state legislator on the phone, it’s easiest to follow these basic steps:

  • Identify yourself by name and your local association.
  • Explain why you are calling: “I am calling to support/oppose HF____/SF____.”
  • Be polite and concise. Developing one or two brief “talking points” will focus the content of your message. Too much information may confuse your message.
  • Ask your legislator his/her position on this issue. Don’t assume that your legislator has prior knowledge of your issue. Be calm, respectful, and be prepared to educate, using local examples to accentuate your point. If the legislator requires further information, provide it as soon as possible.
  • Thank your legislator or the person who took your message for their time and consideration.

Tips for writing legislators

Sending a letter or an e-mail is a great way to communicate with a state legislator. Individually written messages, rather than mass generated form letters, make a greater impression. Type your name, address, and phone number at the top. The Iowa Legislature is generally in session January through April. When the Legislature is out of session, it may be more effective to send your letter or message to your legislator’s home.

Addressing correspondence:

To a State Senator:

The Honorable (Full Name)
Iowa Senate
Iowa State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319

Dear Senator (Last Name)

To a State Representative:

The Honorable (Full Name)
Iowa State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319

Dear Representative (Last Name)

  • Be specific. Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, be sure to identify its full name and number, e.g. House File: HF_____, Senate File: SF_____. Try to send your letter while the issue is still alive.
  • State your position. Explain why you support or oppose this particular issue. Keep in mind that local examples concerning the impact of this legislation are very powerful. Be courteous and to the point, keeping your letter focused on one issue.
  • Ask for a response. Indicate to your legislator that you would appreciate a reply containing his/her position on the issue. “Sincerely yours” is a proper way to conclude your letter.
  • Follow up. If you agree with your legislator’s vote, take the time to let him/her know that. Similarly, if you disagree with his or her vote, inform your legislator.