Advocate at the state level

How to take action!

When advocating for a policy solution for a scientific issue, it's important to educate your audience on the problem as well as present an evidence-based solution with constituent or public support.

You can:

Write an op-ed

An op-ed is an opinion piece often written by a subject-matter expert with a unique perspective. This is a great way alert your policy makers to an issue that directly affects your community and present a solution. Make sure to support your argument with scholarly articles and data. Here's a great example from an ASBMB Advocacy Training Program participant.

Find a media outlet such as a local newspaper, a science policy journal or a science magazine like ASBMB Today to publish your op-ed.

If you have an op-ed ready to go, consider submitting it to ASBMB Today. To inquire, contact the managing editor at using the subject line "Submission."

Once you've written an op-ed, you can start a letter-writing campaign or meet with your elected officials.

Lead a letter-writing campaign

A letter-writing campaign is an organized effort to gain support around a certain issue or cause. You can send your elected official an email or mailed letter detailing the issue and a proposed solution. Make sure they know you are a voting constituent! Do not use jargon, and find evidence to support your argument.

Circulate your letter to colleagues and community and/or post it on social media so others can use your message to contact their elected officials. Social media is a great tool to share your advocacy, and hashtags are a great way to build momentum on social media. Using tools like Google Forms or websites like or can make this step much easier on the organizer.

If your letter is regarding a piece of legislation, use this guide to help prepare your message. Once a letter has circulated and collected enough signatures, make sure to send both an electronic and a mail version of the letter to the correct recipient. This could be a state representative, or a state board of education or other local politicians.

Meet with your policy makers

As a constituent, you have a right to meet with your state lawmakers. Meeting with your lawmakers is one of the best ways to make sure your voice is heard. When meeting with your state lawmakers, it’s important to have a clear “ask.” An ask could be voting in support or against a bill or raising an issue and asking for their support in finding a solution.

Follow these steps to achieve a successful meeting with your policy makers:

  1. Identify your policymakers.
  2. Schedule a meeting.
  3. Create talking points or an elevator pitch.
  4. Attend the meeting.
  5. Send a follow-up email.