On February 8, 2017, close to 200 dental hygienists and student hygienists attended the Missouri Dental Hygienists’ Association’s (MDHA) annual Lobby Day to promote the importance of oral health. At that event, Rep. Donna Lichtenegger was awarded the MDHA 2016 Legislator of the Year Award. This award goes to a Missouri legislator who has worked to promote, advance or preserve the profession of dental hygiene or increase access to oral health care by sponsoring or moving forward legislation in the Missouri legislature. Rep. Litchenegger has become the “go-to” person for oral health by establishing an Oral Health Caucus in the legislature, passing a bill requiring notification to residents and certain governmental agencies if entities such as city councils try to remove fluoride from community water supplies, and sponsoring an Extended Access bill that will allow dental hygienist to work in partnerships with dentists in remote sites to help those who have difficulty receiving preventive oral health care. Rep. Lichtenegger herself is a retired registered dental hygienist and long-term MDHA member.
There is also a cafeteria on the Capitol basement level on the House side. Bring your own water so you can keep hydrated.
During the Visit
Be on time if you have an appointment; your time is limited.
If you pull them out of session, be prepared to give your messages succinctly.
Smile, introduce yourself, each individual in your group, your school and indicate where you live.
Calmly and clearly state the MDHA message with facts.
Listen to your legislators’ views and be respectful even when you do not agree. (Please control your emotions).
Leave toothbrushing supplies with the legislator and with the legislative assistant if you visit the office.
If you cannot talk to the legislator on the first try, please try again.
If you do not know an answer, say “I don’t know” and write the questions/comments on the MDHA Lobby Day Evaluation Form so there will be follow-up by our MDHA lobbyist, John Bardgett, Jr.
Thank them and their staff when you leave
After the Visit
Complete and return the Lobby Day Evaluation Form to the third floor MDHA table: note any unanswered questions, information or anything positive or negative that the legislator has said.
Write a simple thank you note to your legislators. The Honorable _(their name here)_ Missouri State Senate or House of Representatives State Capitol, Rm. _____ Jefferson City, MO 65101
Do not refer to the legislative assistant (L.A.) as the “secretary”
You have been matched up with legislators according to your 9-digit zip code and complete address which is more accurate than your town.
Make a special effort to personally speak with each legislator to whom you have been assigned.
First try to see them in their offices, then see if they are on the Senate or House floor and ask the doorman to get them.
They will likely be in the House session after 10:00 AM unless you have made an appointment for them to meet you elsewhere.
Note that the Senate is starting session later this year at 2:00 and there will be many committee meetings in the morning.
Group Leader Duties
Please make sure everyone in your group will go together to see your legislator/s and be on time for any appointments that have been made (Check with your team on this). In some cases, students’ instructors may be the group leaders.
Some people could be from other schools/locations so you will have to pay attention to where their schools sit at orientation so you can meet them and take them on your visits.
Find this out beforehand or at Orientation. (Getting lost does not make for a pleasant day). You can always meet at the Capitol Information Desk by the first floor rotunda.
You may want to e-mail those in your group ahead of time and designate where to meet at the capitol, such as at a legislator’s office at a specific time.
You are considered a group leader if you are the only one visiting a legislator. In some cases, you will be given extra visits to see those who have no hygienist or student in their districts so all legislators are visited.
Make sure you have enough toothbrushing bags and evaluation forms for your visits (You may have to ask others to carry items if there are several visits). You are in charge of getting toothbrushes.
You will be the spokesperson for your group (Or, you can get someone else to do it if you are not comfortable doing it).
Make sure the evaluation forms are filled out for your group and returned to the check- out area. (You can do it or designate someone in your group to do it).