Attending a Town Meeting

Find out who your legislator is:

A legislator holds town meetings to provide a public forum for discussing timely issues or to hear what their constituents are concerned about. The town hall setting provides an effective opportunity to voice your concerns to your lawmaker, especially if there is a large turnout.

Sometimes, these events are by invitation only, and not open to the public. If so, call the legislator's office and ask if you can attend. In general, when attending a town meeting, conduct yourself as you would when meeting with an elected official. Here are a few suggestions on how to take advantage of town meetings to convey your message.

Before the Meeting
Find out the legislator's schedule by calling their office (in Salem during session) to get the time and place of the next town hall.

Recruit others to attend the meeting with you by assembling a coalition of interested individuals and organizations. Also consider informing the press.

Meet with the coalition ahead of time.
1. Prepare questions - print up copies for everyone in attendance
2. Prepare a press statement and choose relevant fact sheets
3. Assign roles: notetaker (make sure to write down names of staff people), press contact (to deliver the press statement), and follow-up letter writer

At the Meeting

Pack the meeting with your people.
Scatter your coalition among the audience.
Be ready to ask prepared questions and have everyone raise their hands.
Hand out your fact sheets to the legislator and any present staff.

After the Meeting

Send a follow-up letter that includes thanks, any unanswered questions, and fact sheets.
Share take-aways with others by letting interested individuals and organizations know what happened at the town hall meeting.

Press Coverage at Town Meetings

Contact the local media and urge them to cover the town hall meeting.
Fax a press release to the media and make follow-up calls to reporters
Prepare a statement and designate someone to voice your group's position.
Get to know the land use reporters.
Follow up with the press if they covered the town hall meeting story.