By Tom Venzor
Last week’s Southern Nebraska Register featured a Q&A on LB295. LB295 is a legislative bill that provides more scholarship opportunities for low-income and working-class families to choose a parochial or private education for their children. If you have not yet read the Q&A, please do at this link.
To build on the Q&A, I want to call each and every one of you to action. I challenge you to contact your state senator. Low-income and working-class families are relying on us to help them experience educational freedom. To assist, this column will provide a roadmap for contacting your state senator. Notably, you can use this roadmap for any legislative issue!
Before we begin, here are some obstacles many face in contacting their elected officials:
Fear. You might be experiencing fear about contacting your state senator. We often hear how intimidating it can seem to contact a state senator. This is natural. Undertaking any courageous action always requires overcoming some obstacle. But to grow in fortitude (or courage), we must overcome obstacles. If you are experiencing fear, ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of fortitude.
Waste of Time. You might be thinking that contacting your state senator is a waste of time. You might be thinking that senators do not listen to constituents, or that your voice will get washed out by other concerns. Simply put: this is not true.
At last year’s “Catholics at the Capitol” event, former State Senator Tony Fulton told us that senators do listen to constituents. In fact, hearing from constituents can help senators determine what matters to their legislative district.
Senator Fulton said it took only a few people reaching out by phone, e-mail, or personal contact, for him to flag an issue as important to constituents. Senator Fulton also stated that having just a dozen contacts would ensure that he more closely studied an issue. I have found this true for other state senators.
Lack of Knowledge/Eloquence. You might be thinking you lack knowledge or eloquence to be an advocate. While some basic knowledge and eloquence might help, just letting your state senator know you support/oppose certain legislation can often be enough. Further, NCC advocacy tools should help you know more and empower you to confidently speak about your convictions.
Now, time for the roadmap for advocacy:
Sign Up for the NCC Advocacy Network. The easiest way to become an advocate on LB295 is to join our NCC advocacy network. Do this by visiting our website (www.necatholic.org). On our newly designed website, you will see a yellow “Join Our Network” button. Joining is simple: click that button and enter some information. As a member, we will send you “call to action” e-mails for LB295, among other issues. These e-mails will help you quickly send an e-mail to your state senator.
Visit NCC Website. Immediately when you arrive at our newly designed website, you will see an image of joyful Catholic students enjoying recess. Simply click that image to learn more about LB295 and find advocacy information.
Call, E-Mail, or Write Your State Senator. If you do not know your state senator or do not know how to contact your state senator, visit www.nebraskalegislature.gov. On the homepage, click on the “Senators” tab and then “Senators’ Web Pages.” Here you will find a list of senator contact information or an entry box to type your address and find your state senator.
With their contact information, you can call, e-mail, or write to your state senator and let them know why LB295 is important to you and why your senator should support the passage of LB295. If you call outside of business hours, leave a message. As always, be charitable and positive!
God bless your advocacy and thank you for accepting this advocacy challenge in public support of LB295! Don’t forget to challenge a friend—and share this challenge on social media!