Legislative FAQ

I don’t know my legislator so how do I introduce myself?

Remember you are a constituent so legislators want to meet you.  Call your legislator when s/he is in the district, introduce yourself as a dentist in the area and invite him/her to lunch to discuss dentistry.  If other dentists are also interested in meeting the legislators, invite them to join you.  Please note that you should offer to pay for your legislator’s lunch.  You may also call the legislator’s office and ask if there will be any events and/or fundraisers the legislator will be attending or hosting.  If so, ask if you are welcome to attend and use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself.

I have difficult contacting my legislator. When is the best time to reach him/her?

Legislators are very busy when they are in Raleigh.  The best time to call is when they are in the district on the weekends.  If you need to reach them in Raleigh, you likely will talk to the legislative assistant.  Leave a message indicating why you are calling and your legislator most likely will call you back.  If you don’t have any luck with the phone, many legislators respond to email.  Each legislator’s email address is available at the NC General Assembly website, www.ncleg.net.

When should I contact NCDS?

It is important for you to inform NCDS of your activities. If your legislator has questions regarding a specific issue, NCDS can help you answer the legislator’s inquiry.  If you get an invitation for a fundraiser, please contact NCDS because the NCDPAC will consider making a contribution.  Also, if you would like to host a dinner or fundraiser for your legislator, NCDS can help you plan and possibly fund the event.

How often should I contact my legislator?

It is important that you have regular contact with your legislator. Most importantly, please contact your legislator when NCDS sends you a Legislative Alert.  These require immediate action because a bill likely will be heard in your legislator’s committee the next day or a floor vote will be taken soon.  Please note that your legislator would appreciate hearing from you when you don’t need something.  Offer to help with their campaign (Primary election is in May, General Election is in November), host and/or attend a fundraiser, ask him/her to speak at your local society, study club or other organizations (especially during an election year) contribute to his/her campaign and write a letter just to thank them for their public service.

What if my legislator does not agree with the NCDS position on an issue?

That is okay.  Always respect your legislator’s opinion.  However, ask them to explain why they disagree.  They may have a misconception and you could offer some additional information.  Please remember to never get angry and always be respectful.  Even though they don’t agree with NCDS this time – there could be with us another time.

Should I host an event for my legislator?

Yes.  There are many opportunities for you to host your legislator.  You can hold a Meet & Greet, a fundraiser or arrange a dental office tour.  The NCDS can assist you with any event planning and ideas. The NCDS offers local dental societies up to $2,500 and planning assistance to host your area legislators and spouses for a Meet & Greet dinner.

Do I need to be the same party affiliation as my legislator?

No, party affiliation does not matter.  NCDS cares about dentistry and we have good friends on both sides.  In fact, if you change your voter registration to Unaffiliated, you can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary.  So if you aren’t your legislator’s party, you can still vote for him/her in the Primary.

If more than one dentist serves as a contact, do I need to continue serving as well?

Yes.  Power is in numbers.  The more dentists who contact and support your legislator, the better.  If you don’t know the other contact dentists, arrange to meet them and coordinate your efforts.

What is the maximum contribution I can make to my legislator’s campaign?

You can donate $6,400 per election cycle and so can your spouse.

What if I do not agree with the NCDS position on an issue?

Please contact the NCDS immediately to discuss your concerns before contacting your legislator.  Please do not contact your legislator with contradictory information that our lobbyist is likely provided.

When I get a NCDS Legislative Alert, can I discuss other legislative issues with my legislator?

Please limit your discussion to dentistry.  Save your concerns about other issues for another time.

How should I host a political fundraiser?

  • Location: Decide where you would like to hold your event. Home fundraisers are great for building relationships in a relaxed environment. For convenience, consider hiring a caterer who can provide everything you need, like food, plates, drinks, as well as serving and cleanup staff.

  • Financial Goals: Set a goal for how much you’d like to raise at your event, decide your venue’s capacity for guests, and set the price for tickets. Remember that statewide candidates need to raise more funds for their races than local officials. Keep in mind that the higher the contributions you request, the fewer attendees you will likely have. A bigger event can raise impressive funds, while a smaller event will allow for more quality time with the candidate.

  • Coordination: When working with the candidate and his or her staff, always work with the campaign office, and not the official government office of the candidate, which poses ethical and legal issues. The campaign’s finance director is usually the best person to work with to coordinate the fundraiser. This person also can help you set ticket prices for your event if you are unsure how.

  • Attendees: When you create your guest list, invite people in your network such as other dentists and healthcare providers, friends, and family. Reach out to the NC Dental Society for the names of dentists in the area who are supportive. The candidate’s finance director can provide a list of campaign supporters in your area to increase attendance.

  • Sponsors: Ask well known dentists and supporters to be hosts and sponsors of your event. These are guests who support your event at a higher financial level. Their names will be printed on the invitations which will be sent to all other dentists. In North Carolina, up to $6,400 per person can be contributed to a candidate. The candidate’s campaign staff should be able to find additional sponsors or hosts in addition to those you have signed on.  Campaign staff will often invite party leaders and other legislators to include their names on the invitation.

  • Timing: Invitations should be sent about two weeks before the event.  About a week later, you and several of your hosts will want to personally call invitees whom you know well and encourage them to attend. If they are unavailable, remind them that they can always send a contribution.
  • Run-through: The day before your event, hold a run-through with the campaign staff to be sure that they have everything they need, and makes it easier for staff to brief the candidate on the event.

  • Final thoughts:
    • It is always helpful to the candidate if you donate your costs for the event as an in-kind contribution to the campaign.
    • You may want to take out a one-night liability insurance policy for the day of your event.
    • Don’t forget to have a great time!