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How to Influence Meaningful Political Change

By Leah Eby, YWCA Community & Civic Engagement Coordinator
March 24, 2017
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Now more than ever, people are eager to know the best ways communicate with lawmakers and have their voices when the government is considering new policies. Meeting with your legislators in person – at their office in St. Paul or at a town hall meeting in your district – is one of the single most important ways to make your voice heard.

If you can’t meet with them in person, there are still plenty of other ways to communicate with lawmakers and ensure the issues you care about get the attention they deserve. Try writing a handwritten letter, sending an email or making a phone call.

Simple Tips for Communicating with Lawmakers

No matter which communication method you choose, remember these simple tips for communicating effectively with lawmakers:

  • Get to know who represents you. Visit and learn about your elected officials. You can find out about their background, the committees they sit on, bills they’ve authored and sign up to receive their legislative updates.
  • Build a relationship with your representative. Introduce yourself and establish a relationship before you need something from them.
  • Make the issue personal by sharing your story. Stories show policymakers how their decisions affect people personally and can help simplify complex issues.
  • Be persistent and patient. Change takes time. You might not succeed the first, second or even third time.
  • Keep communicating with your representative. Whether you agree or disagree with them, it’s important to tell them what you care about. They rely on their constituents to tell them what is happening in their communities.
  • Say “Thank You” often. Legislators work hard to get elected and want to represent their communities the best they can. They always appreciate hearing they’re doing a good job.

If you’re inspired to take action, join the YWCA Minneapolis Advocacy Network!

Add your name to the YWCA Minneapolis Advocacy Network to receive email updates and action alerts about how to contact your legislators around issues related to YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, girls and youth.

Sign Up Here

Making Your Story Part of the Lawmaking Process

Another great way to influence change in the legislature and share your story related to an issue you care about is to testify in front of a committee. After a bill has been drafted and introduced, it is sent to the committee that oversees that issue. Anyone can testify on the bill in front of a committee, and testimony from community members is very valuable.

YWCA Minneapolis Testifies in Support of Early Childhood Education

So far this legislative session, YWCA Minneapolis has been active at the State Capitol on a number of policies that support our mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and girls, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

Last month, Mary Jones (Chief Advancement Program Officer at YWCA Minneapolis) and Mahder Girma (a teacher aide at YWCA Minneapolis Children’s Center at Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning who is working towards her Child Development Associate credential) testified before the House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance committee on HF793. This bill provides funding to YWCA Minneapolis to support sustainable career pathways for early learning professionals by providing individuals living in low-income households the jobs skills, career counseling and job placement assistance necessary to secure a Child Development Associate credential and have a career path in early childhood education. Mary and Mahder made a great argument for the important role that YWCA Minneapolis’ workforce development program plays in improving economic opportunities in the early childhood education field.

View YWCA Minneapolis 2017 Public Policy Agenda

Join the YWCA Minneapolis Speakers Bureau!

Are you a YWCA parent, caregiver or staff member in our Early Childhood Education or Girls and Youth programs?

The Speakers Bureau is a group of YWCA parents, caregivers and staff who speak publicly in support of early childhood education and youth development programs. Members of the Speakers Bureau are trained to effectively share their personal story and are connected to speaking opportunities as they arise (including testifying at the Minnesota State Capitol during the legislative session).

Contact Leah Eby, Community & Civic Engagement Coordinator, to join the Speakers Bureau: or 612-215-4143.