November 29, 2023

How do you contact your state legislator in Indiana? Student advocates walk through the process

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Article origination IPB News
The Indiana General Assembly website contains contact information about various state lawmakers. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The Indiana General Assembly website contains contact information about various state lawmakers.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

How do you contact your legislator in Indiana? That’s a question our audience wanted to know.

Ashlyn Walker is a senior at Carmel High School and a member of Confront the Climate Crisis — a student-led organization fighting for climate justice in Indiana. Walker said her time with the organization has allowed her to speak and meet with representatives.

She said the Indiana General Assembly’s website makes the contacting process more efficient.

“Before I even started working with the group, I didn't know who my legislators were,” she said. “I didn't really know anyone like my district representatives or anything. The IGA website — Indiana General Assembly — they have a really, really easy way to find your legislator.”

She said the IGA’s website has a section to enter your address and zip code. The website then shows your state senators and district representatives, as well as their contact information.

Walker said she was nervous at first to contact legislators, but assures other Hoosiers it is an effective and simple process.

“It’s nerve-wracking at first, but once you realize there's no downside to putting your voice out there and voicing your opinion to your legislators, at the end of the day, they are here to represent you and the residents of their districts,” she said.

READ MORE: Perception of bipartisanship in Indiana legislature often doesn't match reality

Walker said her group was often reaching out to representatives and senators that specialized in the areas her group was interested in advocating for change in.

“There were a lot of environmental bills that were specifically harmful against the environment,” she said. “For those types of bills, if there was a legislator on the Environmental Affairs Committee or on the committee that would be voting on that bill, a lot of what we did is put together groups, whether it be school clubs or students from our own organizations call and email that legislator about why we think this bill should be voted against. Or if it was our own bill, calling why we think this bill should receive a hearing or receive a vote.”

She said appealing to a lawmaker’s values and priorities while speaking with them is a good way to get them to be more interested in issues Hoosiers are concerned about.

Walker is especially passionate about young people speaking on these issues. She said Hoosier youth should feel encouraged to speak their mind and advocate for change.

I've found that the past couple of years of working with representatives and other organizations even, I think people are more accepting than you think to the youth voices,” she said. “I think people really want to hear what young people and what students have to say. When we're, you know, the future of our state or the future of Indiana.”

More information for contacting your lawmaker can be found on the “find your legislator” tab of the IGA website.

 

 

Violet is our daily news reporter. Contact her at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.

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