The Kansas FFA Association is focused on making Kansas legislators more aware of what agricultural education and FFA is and what that involves for the 163 programs and 7000 members across the state. In times of budget crisis and turmoil in educational policy, it is essential that those making the decisions have a good understanding of the people they affect. At this point our strategy is as follows:
- Encourage each chapter to delegate responsibility for coordinating this program on the chapter level to one or two students or a POA committee and submit the names of these students via the email account below so that this may be a student-driven effort.
- Each month of the legislative session will have an awareness theme. February will focus on FFA, March on classroom, and April on SAE.
- Each month there will be a form letter sent out to chapters to assist in the proliferation of information from the chapter to the legislators representing the district in which the chapter is located. In addition, a webpage on the Kansas FFA website has been developed to share information with members and advisors in regard to tips for making legislators more aware of FFA.
Tips and Reminders
Remember we are not lobbying or asking for anything, our purpose is to raise awareness in our state legislature in regard to FFA and agricultural education.
- Are you sending your chapter newsletter to your legislators?
- Have you invited your legislators to the community portion of your FFA Week activities?
- Do you read your local newspaper updates from your legislators to find out what they are working on in Topeka?
- Do your legislators come home on the weekends to visit with constituents at a Saturday morning forum and if so have you ever attended one of these?
- Have you considered inviting your legislators to breakfast with the chapter officer team?
- Are you planning to invite your legislators to your chapter banquet?
- Is your legislator a good public speaker and if so have you considered asking them to speak at a chapter meeting?
- When you have the opportunity to interact with your legislators do you take their picture with some FFA members and put the picture and an article in the local newspaper creating favorable press for your chapter and the legislator?
- Develop your own chapter legislative awareness program with a member or two in charge of it or assign it to a POA committee and consider including your program in your national chapter award application.
Corresponding with legislators
- If your legislator commutes daily between home and Topeka during the legislative session it may be more effective to send your correspondence to their home. If they do not commute daily, then it is best to send it to their office address which can be found on the House of Representatives and Senate roster links.
- Addressing your legislator:
- In a mailing address use their title such as Rep. John Doe or Senator John Doe
- In introducing them to an audience use their title such as Representative or Senator John Doe of the 53rd District
- In introducing them to another individual or two use their title such as Representative or Senator John Doe
- In speaking with them one on one use Mr. or Mrs. Doe or Representative or Senator Doe
- When planning to invite your legislator to an event it is best to send the invitation 3 to 4 weeks in advance and ask them to R.S.V.P. Once they have sent you a reply either that they are attending or are not attending send them a little note thanking them for their consideration and (if they accept the invitation) that you are looking forward to seeing them on such and such date or (if they are unable to attend) that you understand their busy schedule and hope to include them in future functions
- When sending written correspondence to your legislator have your agricultural teacher and English teacher proofread it.
- What do you do with correspondence received from your legislator:
- If it is worthwhile share it with chapter members at the next chapter meeting
- Let your school administration take a look at it if it is worth their time to read it
- Put it in the chapter scrapbook if it is of memento quality
- Contacting legislators by phone:
- This is only appropriate to confirm their attendance at a function in which their presence is key a day or two in advance such as a chapter meeting when they will be the guest speaker
- Generally contacting by telephone is ineffective because these folks don't spend a great deal of time at their office desk and because you are forcing them to give their time to you when there may be more pressing matter indirectly giving them an unfavorable impression of you and your organization