Advocating to Legislative Groups
Join NAMI Buffalo & Erie County’s Legislative Action Team if you would like to promote awareness and more importantly are willing to take action. We write letters, send emails, and make calls on pending legislation, budgets, and regulations. We attend awareness events and rallies. We meet with legislators and other key people. Let us add you to our Legislative Action Team email list to join our team. Contact us today!
Become familiar with NAMI legislative priorities:
- NAMI National: https://www.nami.org/Advocacy/Advocate-for-Change and
- Federal Bills supported by NAMI: https://www.quorum.us/spreadsheet/external/WQymilirtkqgyATOehgR/
- NAMI New York State: https://www.naminys.org/mental-health-support/advocacy/
- New York State Legislative Action Agenda: https://www.naminys.org/mental-health-support/advocacy/2020-legislative-action-agenda/
- Western New York – contact us to sign up for email action alerts. We are currently advocating for corrections reform, jails and prisons, ending solitary confinement, housing expansion and long-term supported and intermediate residential housing.
Contact with elected officials is often the driving energy behind better programs and services for individuals and families who are coping with serious persistent mental illness. Occasionally, their office may be the avenue of last resort in a particular personal situation.
For your elected officials go to www.elections.erie.gov or call the County Board of Elections at 716-858-8891 (Erie); and www.elections.niagara.ny.us/ or 716-439-7215 (Niagara). Or go to the League of Women Voters web site: www.lwvbn.org/governement/elected.html
You can also find information on the NYS Senate and Assembly web sites (see below)
How to Call an Elected Official
Calling elected officials is a very effective way to have your voice counted, especially when important legislation is to be voted on. To be most effective, be specific with your message:
- Your name and address
- The legislation you are calling about (use Bill # or clear description of the issue)
- The reason why you feel strongly about the legislation or issue, how this action will make things better; e.g., improve care, increase safety, reduce costs, decrease strain on overburdened systems not suited to caring for those with mental illness, etc.
- Briefly explain your relationship to the issue: as such as parent of a loved one with mental illness, a member of NAMI, health provider or educator, person with lived experience of mental illness, etc.
Contact information for Elected Officials (use the title “Honorable” in the address and the title of the elected position in the greeting. e.g. Senator or Congresswoman)
New York State:
Governor of New York State
NYS Capitol Building, Albany, NY 12224
518-474-7516 or 518-474-8390
Niagara County Board of Elections
716-439-7215 or voter lookup at https://vic2.ntsdata.net/niagaraboe/pollingplacelookup.aspx.
United States (National):
More tips and suggestions: https://www.whitehouse.gov/get-involved/write-or-call/
United States Congress
Washington, DC 20515
Call and ask to be connected to your Senator or Representative free at 800-972-3524.
If you are not sure of your election district or who are your representatives in Congress, contact the Erie County Board of Elections at 716-858-8891 or visit their voter lookup at https://elections.erie.gov/VSearch2.
If you are in a county other than Erie, call your local Board of Elections or visit their website.
For more information on communicating with an elected official or the Legislative Action Team, contact NAMI Buffalo & Erie County.