During session, which runs from January to September each year, legislators are usually found in their offices in Sacramento.
Office visits are a powerful way to share your story face-to-face with a legislator or one of their staffers. These visits also provide an opportunity to share materials on your issue in the form of a “leave-behind,” which provides extra context, statistics, and stories legislators can use to determine their position and drum up support from other members.
Visits should always have a purpose, with an ask that the legislator can say yes to (I.e., can we count on your ‘aye’ vote?). Even so, a get-to-know-you visit can have purpose by increasing your visibility and providing an initial point of contact that you can build on throughout their time in office as bills are introduced.
Visits can be scheduled online, by email, or by phone depending on the legislator. Do your research and value your member’s time. If you can, schedule at a time when bills you care about are in the legislator’s committee or on the floor for a vote. Use our action alerts to learn about bills our office is working on.
Who represents you?
District Office Visits
Legislators return to work in their district offices during the recess times throughout the year. In-district meetings are a great time to get to know your representative or to bring along members of your church or community who may not be able to make the trip up to Sacramento. As you build relationships with legislators, you may also invite them to church events, projects, and programs throughout the year. If you have church space, you might offer to host a town hall or another meeting for your legislator.
Federal Legislative Visits
Just like State representatives, US Congress members come home to their districts throughout the year to meet with constituents and learn about your priorities.
Who represents you? The state of California has two senators in the United States Senate and 53 representatives in the United States House of Representatives.
For meetings with US Congress members, see ELCA Advocacy’s guide to in-district office visits.
*A note on endorsements: neither churches, pastors, LOPP-CA nor the ELCA endorse candidates running for office. However, current legislators are your representatives. Meeting with them, inviting them to events, lifting up or calling out their work do not qualify as endorsements. For a comprehensive look at what church bodies can do, see Being a Public Church.