Testifying Before a Legislative Committee

The committee process provides legislators more opportunity to closely study a measure than would be possible in a floor debate. If you feel strongly enough to come down to Salem and talk, come on down! Anyone can speak in Salem.

It is important that you know your audience, know the issue, and are familiar with the committee process. Below are some tips for making your presentation successful.

Inform your representative. If your representative or senator serves on the committee, a courtesy call to his or her staff in advance is appreciated.

Arrive early. Sign your name to the sign-in sheet at the door when you arrive.

Bring copies of your testimony. Hand 25 copies of your written testimony to the secretary before you begin. Make sure your name and contact information is at the top of the page.

Be prepared to adapt your remarks. Avoid making the same points made by previous speakers.

Remember one courtesy—address the committee through the committee chair. Begin your remarks with “Madame Chair, Members of the Committee …” and respond to questions with “Chairman Jones, Representative Smith…”

Clearly state your position. Give a clear and concise description of your position on the issue, comprehensive plan amendment, or development regulation amendment.

Speak from your own experience. Stick to the facts and avoid reading from your written testimony. The committee will appreciate your testimony if you speak with your own words.

Request action and offer solutions by stating exactly what you would like the commission to do.

Be respectful and courteous. Never make accusatory remarks, stay within the time limit, and thank the decision maker at the end of your presentation.