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Talk to your legislator in June not January

By Merilee Dannemann

A fellow who thought of himself as a political reformer approached a friend of mine, a former legislator, one January to ask for support for a large group that planned to visit to the Roundhouse during the legislative session.  
“Whom do you plan to talk to?” my friend asked.  
“Everyone,” the man replied.   
“What do you plan to talk about?” my friend asked.  
“Everything.”  
In other words, advocacy for general principles, not specific bills.
Whoops! Bad plan, bad timing. The gentleman was wasting his time and proposed to waste other people’s time as well.
If you want to talk to a legislator in January, you had better be talking about a specific bill and have your suggested amendment drafted and in hand.
January is way too late to talk about ideas or principles. The time is now, when they are at home, and the earlier in summer the better.
New Mexico legislators are most likely to be home now, working at a job or running a business, pursuing legislative matters as time permits and as the interim calendar demands.
They participate in interim committees, which study issues and develop legislation that will be formally introduced during the session.


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