A message from the President…

One important piece of advice that Senator French gave us at our last meeting is that now would be a good time to start making legislators aware of our issue. They will not go into session again until January, at which time they will be very busy and already have many issues on their minds and on the agenda. Life is a bit less hectic for them right now, and they should be easier to get in touch with and they will be better able to start learning about a new issue. Everyone in the legislature needs to go into the next session already well-informed about Free The Hops and the bill we’ll be introducing. We hope to get our bill out there quickly and voted on quickly, and that is only possible if they already know everything they need to know about it.

So folks, now is the time that you really need to start getting involved. No sitting on the sidelines. We have supporters all over the state, and we need to reach legislators in every district. I hope everyone receiving this email will take the time to contact at least one legislator in some form. And forward this to all of your friends. Just please, please keep the following guidelines in mind. We need to make sure we do this right.

Don’t know who represents you in our state legislature? Now you do:http://www.legislature.state.al.us/house/house_zipsearch.html.

Guidelines for Contacting Legislators

Remember the three most important principles:

1) Brevity
2) Civility
3) Sincerity

Like most of us, legislators are busy people. They would rather not receive multi-page discourses on the nature of craft beer, and they especially don’t want to have their ears talked off for 30 minutes on this one issue. Get the most important points out up front, and offer to provide more information if they want it.

Also very, very important is the need to be polite. Especially with legislators inclined to oppose us. No one will be beaten into submission with angry emails and phone calls. All that would accomplish is further entrenching the opposition. Always be courteous in all communications. Period.

And finally, be sincere. I seriously considered typing up an “example” of a good letter to a legislator, but I really don’t want any of our communications to be copied and pasted. I want everyone to write from the heart and express individual thoughts on this issue. Let the legislator know who you are and what your interest is in the bill that will be introduced. I think it would be especially helpful to buck stereotypes about beer drinkers. Perhaps mention your age, profession, your family, your religious beliefs, anything to reassure the legislator that it is not underage kids wanting a quick way to get drunk that are interested in reforming the regulations on beer. They need to be certain this is about expensive, gourmet specialty beers. Make that very clear.

Free Beer!