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Cultivating Connections and Networking with Local, State and National Decision-Makers

There are numerous ways to network behind the scenes with decision-makers!

TIP: Meet candidates when they are running for office. Educate them about the benefits of language education. Help out in the candidate’s campaign. A contribution to the candidate’s campaign and/or volunteering time is helpful; minimal contributions and/or volunteering time is helpful. The candidate will remember this when elected!

Your elected official is there to represent you and your interests. A U.S. senator or congressman welcomes his/her constituents making contact with the local office. If you plan to visit your senator or congressman’s office in Washington, DC, make arrangements in advance. Face-to-face meetings, such as lunch or a meeting in the legislator’s office, are effective means to educate about language education. Inform the legislator that you would welcome serving as a resource for him or her. Then when a bill is introduced, the legislator will be more apt to recall your position when it is time to vote.

Attend your legislator’s public meetings. Chances are that language education will not come up at a public meeting, but the important thing is that you showed up. After the meeting, re-introduce yourself and let the legislator know that you are a language educator in your particular school/district. Thank the legislator for the meeting. Follow up with an e-mail message or a handwritten note.