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Mid America Buckskinners Info Page


Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas
And all of the United States of America
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No, it's not skinning bucks............ Developed and maintained by JP Finn



I want you to know that I am not an expert on public opinion forming, lobbying or influencing policy makers.
I have been talking to people that are, however.

The ideas and directions on this page are what I have been told. If two or more people agreed that it was important, it was included. My opinions are clearly noted as such.

If you have corrections, additions or ideas that I have missed, let me know. I expect that the polictical aspect will become a part of the buckskinning lifestyle.

Click here to send mail to the MA Bip



Contents

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Hints, Tips and Tricks
Where to start; Understanding the System

What Works Best?
How to stage a One Man Campaign

Letters to the Editor
The Secret to Public Opinion

Letters to your Elected Official
With a suggested outline of a typical letter





Hints, Tips and Tricks
Where to start; Understanding the System
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Register to vote.
You will be checked to see if:
Registered votes have weight, unregistered ones are just whining.
Registered voters from out of the District can influence votes in the District. They have shown their seriousness by registering.

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Hand written letters to Elected Officials draw the most attention.
Mass produced post cards draw the least.

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The more personal the letter, the more influence it has. Mildly interested people send postcards and form letters. Very interested people (willing to back up their convictions with votes) handwrite personal letters.

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Include your address on the letter. Envelopes can get lost.

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Don't make threats. The idea is to influence policy and inform your Official of your feelings on the subject, not to be labled as a "whacko".

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Gun Control is an emotional issue. Facts just get in the way, and are not regarded as having anything to do with the subject. (You may have noticed that)
You need to include facts, satistics and laws in your arguement, but the most impact will be from the emotional aspects. That is where you need to concentrate your arguements.



What Works Best?
How to stage a One Man Campaign
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First, a little reality:

The first thought of the average polititians is "Will this better my chances of being reelected"?
The next thought is "How will this help me, should I not be reelected"?
I conceed that the first thought is not always followed by the next, as stated, but you can be sure that it is right there under the surface.

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Write letters.
Write to your elected Representatives, letters to the editor of your local paper and any magazine to which the issue pertains.
There are clipping services that make sure a pulse is kept on the way public opinion is heading. A letter to the Editor with an Elected Official mentioned is noted as much as a letter to the Representative. Coming back-to-back, they have a double impact.

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Only discuss one issue per letter. (Yep, you might have to write several)

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Mention the bill number (S 1234 or HR 1234) so everyone knows what you are talking about.

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Letters to the Editor
The Secret to Public Opinion
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Compose your letters on a word processer and pay attention to those misspelling and grammer indicators.
The idea is to appear literate with some intelligence and education. Neither the paper nor the readers (on the slim chance the letter is published as comic relief) will take a you seriously otherwize.
Gun Nuts are on the lunatic fringe or are uneducated rednecks, if you believe the mainstream media. 'Skinners carry knives and 'hawks as well as a gun. What do you think they could do with that?

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Check the editorial page to get the address and to whom to send the letter. Most newpapers now have an e-mail address that can be used.
You must give your name, address and/or phone number so they can contact you to make sure that you really wrote the letter. No info - no publish

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Send a mail asking for the letter policy. Most papers have length limitations, although some will put a longer, better written letter in a special area, much like a regular columist' spot.

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Make your letters relate to recent events or articles, editorials and columns just published. Papers get enough letters that they discard the "off-the-wall" ones.
An easy way to be ready is to write and keep handy a group of generic easily modified letters.

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Keep your letter simple. Be clear and to the point. Vague referances will not be understood by anyone but you.
Keep it short if you want it published (that's the point, right?)
Use the first sentance to catch the interest of the readers, and let the Editor make a 3 or 4 word summary/headline.

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Make it personal.
How will this effect you and your neighbors? How about the loss of business in the local area? Does it effect education? (You do invite Schools to events, give in-school and public demonstrations at historic sites, don't you?)

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It's "For the Kids". Or whatever the catch phrase is today.

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Mention your Elected Offical in your letter, either in praise or otherwize over their actions. Also mention any response that they may send to your letters.



Letters to your Elected Official
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Keep the letter to one page in length.

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Make sure you ask for a personal response.

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Write a "Thank You" letter when they do good!
Conversly, a "Bad Dog!" letter is needed when they mess up.
Mention the original letter in the follow-up letter. The second letter has double the impact of the original one. It shows that you are paying attention and taking notes.

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Write as soon as the issue comes up. Follow up as the issue progresses, with either "Good Job", or "Bad Job" letters, as the case may be.
They need time to see what the opinion is and plan a strategy or make excuses to put out to the media. They might agree with you, but.... (see the first entry in the Hints and Tips Section)

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If you have a good Elected Official, campaign for them. Pass out handbills, post signs or even donate money to their campaigns. Be sure to mention the past work when you write.

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Suggested form for a Letter
Wanna, but not sure how?

Your Name
Your Address
Todays date


The Honorable (Offical's Name)
Official's Title
Official's Address


Dear (Mr./Mrs./Ms.) Offical's Name,

What the letter is about (why you are writing)
"I wish to request that you vote NAY on Senate Bill S 1006, Restricting the use of Steel Leghold Traps.

Your general arguement
Leghold traps are not the crippling devices that are being portrayed in the media. They have the advantage of allowing release of animals that have caught, but not desired, without permanate damage to the critter.
The trapping community has developed the present trap design because it is effecient and easily maintained.

Your Personal arguement
Last season, I was able to release a crosseyed, left footed Wobblie, an Endangered Animal, that would have been lost to the gene pool, had I been required to use a "Killer" style trap, as required under Bill S 1006

The request for a response
Please send your position on Bill S 1006, with your position on the desirability of further regulating the vital commerce in hides and furs.

Respectfully Yours,
(4 Lines left blank for your signature)


Your (original) Signature
Your name



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Hey, jp!



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