Individuals who either have pre-established relationships with an elected representative, or are willing to work to establish such relationships.
A Key Contact is an individual who either has a pre-established relationship with an elected representative, or is willing to work to establish such a relationship. You will volunteer to be a resource on health policy issues to your elected representative – and becoming a trusted, credible source of such information. If you are unsure who this is, visit the Wisconsin state locate your legislator page to find out. Sometimes a Key Contact relationship is established by virtue of the fact that the elected representative is a patient, went to school with you, attends the same church, synagogue, mosque, etc., or belongs to the same organization, such as Kiwanis or Rotary. In other cases, you may have volunteered to help on his or her campaign or contributed to campaigns over the years.
Key Contacts are expected to be prepared, often on short notice, to contact their representatives on particular bills or issues, and based on information provided to you in advance by WAFP, be clear with them about how you would like them to vote. You might also be asked to follow up with an elected official after a vote has occurred to thank him or her for supporting the WAFP position – YOUR position – or ask for a clearer explanation of why the elected official did not vote our way.
All Key Contacts are included on WAFP’s distribution list of our monthly advocacy newsletter, Inside the Capitol, a brief overview of the Academy's lobbying efforts. We also offer individual advice to our Key Contacts as well as training via telephone. Sample letters may be provided when there is sufficient lead time, but often, a quick fact sheet may be emailed to you in advance of a vote, and you might be asked to telephone the representative’s office. Even if you are unable to speak to the representative personally, be sure to leave a message about who you are and what you want. You are encouraged as well, from time to time, to try to meet with your elected representative in his or her district office. WAFP can help you go about setting up such a meeting.
Sometimes a year or more may go by between our requests for contacts, while in other cases, depending on the press of legislative business, you may be asked to make multiple contacts in a single month. It all depends on the issues and the legislation. For example, a representative who chairs the health committee will likely have more Key Contacts and be contacted more frequently than a representative who has introduced only one health care bill in eight years.
Making a political contribution to an elected official is not a requirement of being a Key Contact – but it helps! Even a contribution as small as $25-50 gets you on the list of contributors and may improve your access to the elected official.