Sharing your personal story with your legislator is a good way to build a relationship. And with District Days approaching (September 17-21), there’s no better time to start thinking about the story you want to share when you meet with your legislators in their district offices.
To help get you excited about sharing your story, we asked four I&E Workgroup Members to share theirs on our blog. Over the next month, we will post one story each week in our “What’s Your Number?” blog series.
This week we hear from Nicole Coxe from Santa Clara County.
As a participant in the 2012 Tobacco Information and Education (I&E) Days in Sacramento, I was asked to choose a number that represented my story, my community or program’s story to share with my Legislator that would highlight why tobacco prevention efforts are valuable. I was torn between choosing a number that related to my personal story or to our program work, so I chose both.
My number is 30.
This number represented two things. In just 30 days our community celebrated the successful adoption of four smoke-free outdoor policies in Santa Clara County. 30 also represented my age at the time, half of which has been spent dedicated to being an advocate for tobacco prevention efforts in my community. I got involved because of living with a parent who smoked, and wanted to do something to change the future for other young people, like me.
I began my efforts in tobacco prevention in high school by helping to create what is now our program’s 15-year-long running Prop-99 funded youth coalition. This same youth coalition was a key pillar in the success of those four smoke-free policies being adopted in 30 days.
Sharing my number and stories with the Legislator and their staff was very empowering because not only did we get to highlight the great work going on in our community (such as our smoke-free policy efforts), but it provided an opportunity to share our personal connection to this issue. In turn, it deepened and strengthened our conversations with the Legislator or their staff, because we afforded the same opportunity to the Legislator and their staff to share their story with us.
Santa Clara County Tobacco Prevention & Education Program
Check out the second post in the “What’s Your Number?” sereies here.