FILL THE HALLS & WATCH THE OATHS
It's the first day of work for all of our new legislators, and what better way to welcome them to the Capitol and kick off the next season of #LetsFixThis than to actually be there when they take their oath of office? The event is open to the public but is usually poorly attended...so we're going to change that! Join us as we fill the halls and watch the oaths!
WHAT ARE WE ACTUALLY DOING?
Primarily, two things:
1. Meet your legislators, and
2. Watch them take their oath of office.
IS THIS A RALLY?
No, not in the traditional sense. We want people to come to the capitol, but not just to make a big hubbub - we want you to actually have conversations with your legislators. We want to let them know that we're here, we're interested, and we're going to be involved this legislative session. The upcoming legislative session is going to be incredibly important to the success of our state, and this is a great opportunity to show your representatives that you aren't just some nameless voter - you are a person with a unique story that they need to hear, and that you are stepping up to do your part to make sure that the legislature actually does it's job this year.
As mentioned above, both the House & Senate will being taking their oath of office, so we are going to try to sit in for each event and watch. I think it's important for us as constituents to see how stuff at the Capitol works and hear the words of the oaths they will be pledging. Also, I think it sends a message to them that we're paying attention from Day 1 and that we are going to hold them accountable for sticking to that oath they take.
If you're nervous, that's okay - this will be the first time most of us have done this kind of thing, too! Remember: As taxpayers, technically we own the building. I know it looks intimidating, but once you've been up there once or twice, you realize it's actually really simple. (You'll also understand why they need to do those repairs!) We'll have maps on-hand and will help you find your way to wherever you're trying to go. We'll also have nametags you can wear so that no one in our group is a stranger.
10:00am - 11:00am Arrive at the Capitol. Be sure to allow enough time to park, walk, and get through security.
11:00am House swear-in
12:00 Lunch on your own
2:30pm Senate swear-in
3:30pm Talk to legislators, head home, or go for a cupcake & coffee with your new Let's Fix This friends.
Before and after each swearing-in ceremony the legislators will be mingling in the rotunda (some will possibly in their offices).
WHERE TO MEET
Park in the big lot on the south side of the State Capitol. (Parking is free.) Enter the building through the door there on the south side - there are signs, and you'll probably see people walking in & out. Go thru security, then take the elevators up to the 4th floor. Look for people wearing red "Let's Fix This" buttons - we'll be standing around to help guide you to where you need to be. We'll be handing out maps, instructional handouts about how to talk to legislators, and more of our Let's Fix This buttons. (If you already have one, please wear it!)
HOW TO PREPARE
1. KNOW WHO YOUR LEGISLATORS ARE. If you aren't sure, you can look them up on oklegislature.gov. (Note: that site doesn't yet show the newly-elected legislators, so you may need to check our election results on http://newsok.com/politics/elections/results.)
2. KNOW WHAT YOU'RE ASKING THEM TO DO. Fund teacher pay raises? Expand Medicaid? Repair our highways & bridges? Raise the gross production tax rate on oil & gas companies? Fix the budget? Decide what is most important to you and what you're asking.
3. KNOW YOUR OWN STORY. Once you've decided WHAT you're asking them to do, you need to tell them WHY it's important to you. Legislators truly want to hear from their constituents - they want to know your personal connection to these issues. Your personal stories are SO IMPORTANT to them when they decide to support or oppose an issue and debate it on the floor. Whether you voted for them or not, it's their job to represent EVERYONE in their district, and that includes you.
4. PRACTICE! Remember when you had speech class in 8th grade and you practiced your "how-to" speech in front of the bathroom mirror? Do that again. A little practice & polish never hurt anyone, and I promise it will make you feel more confident when you talk to your legislators.
5. INVITE YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS. Everything is easier (and way more fun) when you use the buddy system, so invite someone to come with you. I guarantee you know someone who would love to come but is too shy on their own...just like you.
If you can't find anyone to come with you, don't worry - one of our board members or volunteers would be happy to be your buddy and help you find your way around.
Feel free to send us a DM or email at email@example.com.
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Follow on Twitter: twitter.com/LetsFixThisOK.
Donate to help pay for those awesome red buttons: letsfixthisok.org/donate.
[Please note that, sadly, the dynamic musical duo Hall & Oates will NOT be playing. I just enjoy a good pun. But we can totally listen to their music at the after party!]