FCIC - Florida Center for Inclusive Communities
Program Areas: Public Policy, header graphic

Overview

Florida Capitol BuildingEducating the elected officials that represent you is important for passing legislation that represents your issues and needs. This section offers some tips regarding your role in the democratic process. By sharing your opinions and ideas with your legislators, you help them decide what to do about the issues that matter most. They value your suggestions and we want you to express them!

Share Your Message

Sharing Your Message with Legislators

Legislators receive a large volume of phone calls and mail from their constituents. Remember that legislative aides have great influence and are often very knowledgeable about many issues. Aides will get your message to the legislator. When a legislator does not have time to become an expert on every issue, aides are relied on to do research and suggest positions on certain subjects. How then can you be sure your voice is heard? Here are some tips to help you get the most impact out of your communications with your legislators.

General Tips

Telephone Calls

Sample Telephone Script

"Hi, this is Nancy Jones calling from Pasco County. Is Senator Donaldson available?"
(Chances are the legislator will not be available and you will talk with the person who answered the phone or another aide. You could also ask for the aide who works with health and education issues. Remember, whomever you talk to is valuable!!)

"I was calling Senator Donaldson to share my hopes for the future funding of the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of South Florida. My 7-year-old son, Joe, has autism. CARD has helped my family when he needed to be toilet trained, and again when we had problems with him learning how to communicate. Are you aware of the CARD center at USF?"

Writing a Letter

Click to view a Sample Letter.

Visiting Your Legislator

Prepare a very basic one-page fact sheet concerning your issue to give to your legislator that includes: who you are, your issue, your solution, your contact information. This will help him or her better retain what you present.

Materials & Resources

FCIC Fact Sheet cover image

FCIC Fact Sheet: Advocating for Yourself & Others

This fact sheet provides information about public policy, advocacy and the ingredients needed for effective systems change.

FCIC Fact Sheet cover image

FCIC Fact Sheet: Inclusion Works for All

This fact sheet provides information about inclusion, self-determination, and the supports needed to ensure inclusion happens.

Sample Letter cover image

Sample Letter to Legislator

This is a sample letter for sharing your message with your state legislator.

Related Links

This page includes links to both internal (FCIC) and external (non-FCIC) websites. External links are selected and reviewed when the page is published. However, the FCIC is not responsible for the content of external websites. The FCIC website does not accept submissions or requests.

Finding Your Legislators

Contact Elected Officials

Call, email, or mail U.S. state and federal elected officials and government agencies.


Florida Legislators

The Florida Senate

To find your Legislators, enter either your mailing address or zip code.

Florida House of Representatives

You may sort by Representative, Party, or District by clicking on the appropriate header label. You can also find your representative by clicking on the "Find Your Representative" icon.

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Legislatives Alerts

You can sign-up for the FDDC Florida legislatives alerts mailing list.


Other Helpful Links

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)

The oldest professional association devoted to working with and for individuals with an intellectual disability or developmental disabilities.


Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is a membership organization that supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs. Network members consist of: 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD); 35 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Programs funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB); and 19 Developmental Disability Research Centers (DDRC), most of which are funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD).


Health and Human Services Office on Disability

The Health and Human Services Office on Disability was created in October 2002 in response to†the†New Freedom Initiative.†The office oversees the implementation and coordination of disability programs, policies and special initiatives pertaining to the over 54 million persons with disabilities in the United States. The New Freedom Initiative established seven distinct domains in the area of disability: community integration, education, employment, health, housing, technology, and transportation.


IDEA Partnership

The IDEA Partnership is a national organization dedicated to improving outcomes for students and youth with disabilities by joining state agencies and stakeholders through shared work and learning. The IDEA Partnership is devoted to stimulating new ways for stakeholders, administrators, service providers, family members, policymakers, and other interested individuals – to work together on issues related to IDEA 2004 that are shared across states and districts; across roles and relationships. To accomplish this goal, the IDEA Partnership provides opportunities for stakeholders to move beyond information and build shared meaning; to go beyond dissemination to joint understanding and action.


National Council on Disability (NCD)

NCD's overall purpose is to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability; and to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society. NCD has a free ListServ to receive news and bulletins.


Partners in Policymaking Making Your Case

A self-study course designed to help people with developmental disabilities and their families create positive change through advocacy.

Webinars

Meeting with Lawmakers: How to Impact Florida's Legislative Process

Play 'Meeting with Lawmakers...'Presenter(s): Sylvia Smith, J.D., Disability Rights Florida; Margaret Hooper, MSW, Florida Developmental Disabilities Council; Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D., Mailman Center for Child Development; and Elizabeth Perkins, Ph.D., Florida Center for Inclusive Communities
Date: December 14, 2011Duration: 1 hr 5 min

A DD Act Agency Collaborative Event Florida Developmental Disabilities Center logo      Disability Rights Florida logo      Mailman Center Logo      FCIC logo

Description: This webinar will: 1) Raise your awareness of the policy work of Developmental Disabilities Network agencies. 2) Increase your understanding of ways to become an effective and productive advocate or self-advocate. 3) Provide invaluable tips about meeting and influencing legislators. 4) Describe the legislative process and your role as an advocate. Closed captioning is provided.

Related Materials:

"Fighting for Our Lives!" Webinar

Play 'Fighting for Our Lives!'Self-Advocates & Families Presenters: Tricia Riccardi, Orlando; Charm Thometz, Tampa; Susan Creek, Gainesville; and Mark Owens, Brandon
Date: December 16, 2011Duration: 49 min

Description: Webinar highlights include: 1) What is happening with Medicaid Waiver services today. 2) What you can do to stop your services from being cut. 3) How we can join together to take action.


(PART 1) Affordable, Accessible, & Integrated Housing Options for People with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities

Play 'Affordable, Accessible...'Presenter(s): Jay Klein and Joe Wykowski
Date: August 10, 2011Duration:1 hr 45 min

Description: For most of us, home is the place where we take refuge from the world, the space where we freely express ourselves, and where we decide who to invite in. Too often, people with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) are not included in even the most basic decisions about where and with whom they live. However, there are programs that are making strides in increasing the number of people with IDD who live in affordable, accessible, and integrated housing that they control. This webinar includes best and promising practices drawn from real examples, studies, and lessons learned from experts working on housing issues and policy at the national, state and local levels. Jay Klein, Associate Clinical Professor in the Social Work School in the College for Public Programs at Arizona State University and Joe Wykowski, Executive Director of Community Vision in Portland Oregon share their valuable knowledge, insight, and guidance and address how to overcome the challenging barriers that impede individuals with IDD from achieving the goals of self-direction and community integration.

(PART 2) Affordable, Accessible, & Integrated Housing Options for People with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities

Play 'Affordable, Accessible...'Presenter(s): Jay Klein and Joe Wykowski
Date: August 24, 2011Duration:1 hr 55 min

Description: For most of us, home is the place where we take refuge from the world, the space where we freely express ourselves, and where we decide who to invite in. Too often, people with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) are not included in even the most basic decisions about where and with whom they live. However, there are programs that are making strides in increasing the number of people with IDD who live in affordable, accessible, and integrated housing that they control. This webinar includes best and promising practices drawn from real examples, studies, and lessons learned from experts working on housing issues and policy at the national, state and local levels. Jay Klein, Associate Clinical Professor in the Social Work School in the College for Public Programs at Arizona State University and Joe Wykowski, Executive Director of Community Vision in Portland Oregon share their valuable knowledge, insight, and guidance and address how to overcome the challenging barriers that impede individuals with IDD from achieving the goals of self-direction and community integration.

Program Areas

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Employment

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Interdisciplinary Training

Public Policy