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If you only have 5 minutes to make a difference

Advocacy doesn't have to take a lot of time, and it doesn't have to cost anything.

Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

-- John Wooden

1. Call your legislator -- You don't need a bill number, or a doctorate in health policy. Just tell them what concerns you, what you read and can't get out of your mind, your latest great idea, whatever. And if there is a bill, definitely call them. They would much rather hear from you before the vote than to get an angry call afterwards. They not only welcome such calls, they have staff hired waiting for you to call. Get their phone numbers from the blue pages in your phone book or go to our Legislative advocacy page. If you're not sure what to say, go to our tool How to call your legislator.

To call your legislators: Home numbers are listed in the blue pages of your phone book (they list them for a reason, it is OK to call) At the Capitol: Senate Democrats 1-800-842-1420 Senate Republicans 1-800-842-1421 House Republicans 1-800-842-1423 House Democrats 1-800-842-1902

2. Get on the mailing list of an advocacy organization that addresses the issues you care about -- You can join our CT Health Notes listserv and learn about upcoming issues, events, research, and other upcoming issues in Connecticut's health care. You can also join lists for more specific organizations, from mental health to cancer to political lists. For more information, please go to Collaborations and Coalitions.

3. Inform someone - Share your concerns with a friend, family member, even someone standing next to you in line. Never underestimate how powerful word-of-mouth can be. And it's a small world; you never know who you are talking to.

4. Write a letter to a policymaker - Writing down your concerns might take more than five minutes, but it is fairly simple. And as with phone calls, policymakers expect to receive letters, in many cases they rely on getting information from the public (and they trust you far more than a lobbyist). You will also most likely get a response, usually written, explaining the issue more fully and letting you know what they intend to do about it. For more, go to our tool How to write to policymakers.

5. Visit a policymaker - Honest, this can be under the five minute limit. You may get a knock at your door or be greeted coming out of the grocery store during campaign time by a candidate with literature. Don't run away. Take a minute to stop and ask him/her what they would do about your issue if elected. If you want to make an appointment, go to our tool How to visit with a legislator.

6. VOTE - It is critically important that everyone who is eligible to vote exercises that right. But you can do more to support candidates that support the issues you care about. For more, go to our tool How to work with campaigns. For more on voting, go to the Connecticut League of Women Voters website, http://www.lwvct.org. If you aren't registered, the League site has the form you fill out.

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LINKS

To find your state legislators, go to: http://www.lwvct.org/ef/Directory/index.htm 

Connecticut's US Senators: The Honorable Christopher Dodd http://www.senate.gov/~dodd/

The Honorable Joseph Lieberman http://lieberman.senate.gov/

To find your US representative, go to http://www.house.gov/writerep/

To find and communicate with your candidates during campaign season, go to http://www.dnet.org/

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