At The General Assembly

In Virginia, citizens can (and should!) be citizen lobbyists and educate lawmakers about the importance of issues they care about. You are an invaluable resource to state legislators. You are passionate, motivated and vote! When citizens take the time to learn about issues, such as animal welfare, they can become the local source of expertise to their legislator. Letters, phone calls and emails from constituents top a legislator’s list of priorities. Constituents have the power to re-elect legislators and to hold them accountable for their votes…and legislators know it.

Citizen lobbyists harness this power and use it to their advantage to fight for the issues they care about—in our case, it’s the animals. Given that they can’t advocate for themselves, it’s even more critical that you make your voice heard.

Humane Dominion helps by serving as a unified voice for us all. We provide an organizational framework to cultivate political leadership for animals, but we are only as strong as our members and we need you!

The best time to begin to cultivate a relationship with legislators is when they are not in session—in the spring, summer and fall. During this interim time, legislators are not as busy and have more time to talk about general policy issues that may not relate to a specific bill.

During session, legislators only have time to hear about specific bills, not general issues, because they must hear and vote on approximately 3,000 bills in a short time; therefore, you must provide a specific bill number and committee assignment when you reach out to them during session.

This is exactly why citizen lobbyists are encouraged to build relationships with their legislators BEFORE they get too busy to have in-depth conversations with citizens. The goal is to build reciprocal relationships from which the constituents, legislators and all Virginia’s animals can benefit.

Learn more about how the Virginia General Assembly works.