Advocacy

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Write your Legislators
Find my State Legislator
Find my Federal Legislator
Senator Tim Kaine and Senator Mark Warner represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate. For the name and contact information for your U.S. Representative, click here.

Contact your State Officials
Executive Branch Elected Officials
The Honorable Terence (Terry) McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia
1111 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 786-2211 E-mail Governor McAuliffe

The Honorable Ralph S. Northam, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
P.O. Box 1195, Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: (804)786-2078 E: ltgov@ltgov.virginia.gov

The Honorable Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia
900 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 786-2071 Email Attorney General Herring

Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources
The Honorable William Hazel, Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources
P.O. Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: (804) 786-7765 E: HealthAndHumanResources@governor.virginia.gov

Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
Interim Commissioner
P.O. Box 1797, Richmond, VA 23218-1797
P: (804) 786-3921 E: jim.stewart@dbhds.virginia.gov

Connie Cochran, Assistant Commissioner of Developmental Services
P.O. Box 1719, Richmond, VA 23218-1797
P: (804) 663-7259 E: connie.cochran@dbhds.virginia.gov

Heather Norton, Director, Office of Community Support Systems
P.O. Box 1797, Richmond, VA 23218-1797
P: (804) 786-5850 E: Heather.Norton@dbhds.virginia.gov

Dawn Traver, Director, Office of Waiver Operations
P.O. Box 1797, Richmond, VA 23218-1797
P: (757) 253-4316 E: Dawn.Traver@dbhds.virginia.gov

Deb Lochart, Director, Office of Human Rights
P.O. Box 1797, Richmond, VA 23218-1797
P: (804) 786-0032 E: deb.lochart@dbhds.virginia.gov

Office of Human Rights Regional Offices
Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy
1910 Byrd Avenue, Suite 5, Richmond, VA 23230
P: 1-800-552-3962 E: general.vopa@vopa.virginia.gov

Tips for Letter Writing
• Address envelope to “The Honorable Delegate/Senator name”
• Address letter to “Delegate/Senator”
• Be concise
• Let your legislator know you appreciate his/her efforts
• Briefly explain your situation. See Tips for Telling Your Story (below) for ideas
• Ask to meet or speak with him/her over the phone if a meeting is not possible
• If you have not had a response within two weeks, call to follow-up
We have been told it makes a big difference when a legislator receives personalized, traditional letters from at least eight different constituents. Help us strengthen our voice-ask nearby friends/family to join you in a letter writing campaign!

Tips for Telling Your Story
Self-Advocates
• If you are on a wait list, how would services help you?
• What are your dreams, hopes and goals? What support do you need to make these happen?
• Have you lived in an institution? What was that like? How is life different now?
Family Members
• What support services does your family member need to live A Life Like Yours?
• How would cuts to services affect you?
• Are you on a Medicaid Waiver wait list? How would Wavier services help you? What is life like for your family? How long have you been waiting?
• Would you ever “choose” an institution for your family member?
• Why is it important to provide community-based services in lieu of institutionalization?
Providers
• Why services do you provide and how do they help people with I/DD live A Life Like Yours?
• How would the people you support be affected by cuts to services?
Friends and Concerned Citizens
• Why do you feel compelled to speak out for people with developmental disabilities?
• As a constituent, why is your legislator’s support of people with I/DD important to you?
• Why is it important to provide community-based services to prevent institutionalization?
• As a taxpayer, how is investing in institutional models of care (which are known to be more expensive than community-based care) an ineffective/inefficient use of state dollars?

Visit Your Legislator
• Contact the office of the Delegate/Senator beforehand to make an appointment
• Consider inviting the legislator to visit you at your home
• Bring copies of your personal story and a picture
• Prepare an “elevator speech”. If you had only 90 seconds to get your point across, what would you say?
• Contact The Arc of Virginia for materials, assistance and advice on meeting your legislator
• Send a thank-you note afterwards

Helpful links:
Directions to the General Assembly Building
Downtown Parking Map
Map of the State Capitol
Senate Offices or House of Delegate Offices
Virginia General Assembly website
What legislative/committee meetings are coming up?
General Assembly Calendar
• Watch the House or Senate session live
House and Senate Committees lists
Search for a bill  or budget amendment
How Bills Become Law
Chart of the Budget Process