The Arizona Caregiver Coalition is involved in legislative advocacy across Arizona as well as on the federal level. Advocacy kick-started the Arizona Caregiver Coalition’s activities and was the ultimate reason Arizona legislators voted to continue the Arizona Lifespan Respite Program in 2016. Participation in our efforts is encouraged by family caregivers, caregiver advocates, and supporting agencies.
Contact the Arizona Caregiver Coalition to learn more about how you can help our non-profit and support families staying together and caring for their own. Call 888-737-7494 today and inquire about becoming a volunteer in our advocacy efforts, or contact our Executive Director, Cindy Findley, directly at 602-542-6593.
How You Can Become An Advocate:
1) Get Informed
- Create an account on the Arizona State Legislature Web Application System.
- Learn about upcoming legislative bills, make a list of bills you want to be updated on, create personal notes to bills, and follow them through the Legislative process
- See dates for upcoming hearings.
- Watch live and archived hearings.
- Request to Speak at Senate and House committees about bills you support or oppose.
2) Engage Your Elected Officials
Many upcoming bills that will assist family caregivers are going through the House and Senate this session. Local representatives will decide if these bills will pass, and you can help influence that decision by
- Testifying at local planning and budget hearings.
- Attending neighborhood and public meetings and speaking up in favor of caregiver assistance.
- Soliciting the support of local care providers and other community groups.
- Sending letters, e-mails, and making phone calls to your representatives.
3) Personally Meeting With Your Legislator
- The personal touch brings a face to caregiver issues and provides education where it is needed.
- If meeting as a group, bring no more than 4-5 people; any more may feel like a mob.
- Be respectful, not antagonistic. Educate yourself beforehand about your legislator’s previous actions or statements on caregiver assistance.
- Stay focused on one issue.
- Be specific about what action you are asking for (i.e. vote yes for HB 2209).
- Leave a position paper or fact sheet for later reference
- Always thank your representative for their time.
- Find out who your representatives are using the Children’s Action Alliance’s wonderful search engine.
4) How To Craft Your Own Message
- Get to the point and provide simple talking points.
- Be specific, state your position clearly, and give reasons for your point of view.
- Provide personal experience.
- Consider the audience and craft your message to speak to them where he/she is.
- Describe the impact (pros and cons) that your issue has on the listener and his/her constituents.
5) How To Deliver The Message
- Identify yourself – let your audience know who you are and what/who you represent.
- Justify the messenger – be able to explain why you are an appropriate spokesperson for the issue (i.e. “I am a caregiver…”).
- Be prepared and polished – if speaking face-to-face, have notes to stay on point or proofread any written correspondence.
- Value their time – public hearings generally allot no more than five minutes per speaker and representatives rarely allot more than 30 minutes for face-to-face meetings.
- Allow for follow-up – be sure to include contact information so the audience can follow up later with additional questions.
6) Help Register People To Vote
Make sure people in your community are registered to vote and help inform them about caregiver issues.