A Guide to Grassroots Legislative Action


In addition to the information below, visit the MEMBERS ONLY section for a sample ALW advocacy letter and additional resources to get the word out about a much needed ALW reimbursement increase.

Finding Your Legislator

Click on the link for The Ohio General Assembly to search for your legislator.  Both your local Senator & Ohio House Representative can be found here. 

For the most accurate information you will need to have your 9-digit ZIP code.  If you don't know it visit: USPS ZIP Code Search.  Once you have your full ZIP Code click on The Ohio General Assembly link below.  

The Ohio General Assembly - www.legislature.ohio.gov

For an example of what you will see when you are looking up your legislators take a look at the screenshots below from the OALA lookup...

Screen shot of legislature lookup
2nd screenshot of the legislature lookup

Contact Your Legislator

Schedule a Visit…

  • At Your Assisted Living Residence
  • At Your Legislator’s Office

The most effective way to convey your views to your local legislators and positively affect the outcome of the legislation is to first invite them to visit your Assisted Living Residence.  This provides a wonderful opportunity for them to learn more about Assisted Living, and meet the residents living in their district.  If this is not possible, you may consider scheduling a visit with them either in their office or home district.  Although a face-to-face visit may be time-consuming, it is often the best way to ensure great results.  Personal visits tend to put a human face and perspective to Assisted Living in Ohio.

When scheduling a visit, call your local legislator’s office and request an appointment.  If they are unavailable, ask to meet with a member of their staff who handles the issue.  When meeting with the lawmaker or staffer, point out how the pending legislation will affect your Assisted Living Community, your residents and their families, your employees, and the district as a whole.  Personal stories can help achieve greater results.  When possible, you will want to invite the local media.  Your local legislators will appreciate the coverage.  Remember to always be polite, and follow-up with a personal letter thanking the lawmaker for their time, and offering future assistance if necessary.

Place a Phone Call…

If your time is limited, or you need to get in touch with your legislator immediately, it’s time to place a phone call.  Your call will more than likely last less than a minute, and you may not even speak with your legislator directly, so in order to maximize your effectiveness consider these tips:

  • Identify yourself as the Constituent
  • Be brief and clear – Limit your call to one subject
  • Give a bill number if possible
  • Mention the action you would like the lawmaker to take on the issue at hand
  • Ask your legislator for their position on the issue at hand
  • Be courteous
  • Ask for a response
  • Always convey your availability for follow-up and/or future assistance

Also, it is always a good idea to have a prepared message on hand in the event that neither your legislator nor their legislative aide is available to take your call (Writing it in advance is always helpful.)  Be sure to speak slowly and clearly, leaving your name, address and reason for your call.

Write a Letter…

A letter can make a difference.  Legislators often say that as few as ten letters from their constituents on any issue is enough to make them STOP and take notice.  In addition, personally written letters are most effective, and they allow you to present your position without interruption.  Your letter should contain the following components:

  • A brief statement identifying the issue and/or bill number of concern
  • An explanation of why you are interested in/concerned about this particular issue and/or bill
  • A personal statement about how the issue and/or bill will affect you, your Assisted Living Community, your residents and their families, your staff, and the district as a whole.
  • FACTS, including supporting information and data reinforcing your stated position
  • An invitation to contact you to discuss the issue and/or bill in more detail
  • A request for reply if one is necessary
  • A statement of appreciation for the consideration of your position

Most state legislatures are only in session part of the year.  In Ohio, the State Legislature is in session January through May.  When the legislature is out of session, it may be more effective to direct your letter to your legislator’s district home office.

 Address your letter as follows:

To a State Senator:

The Honorable (Full Name)
State House, (Room Number)
Ohio Senate
Columbus, Ohio 43266
Dear Senator (Last Name):

To a State House of Representatives

The Honorable (Full Name)
State House, (Room Number)
Ohio House of Representatives
Columbus, Ohio 43266
Dear Representative (Last Name):