JUFJ’s Montgomery County Council Testimony Guide
Thanks for being part of JUFJ’s campaigns for a more just Montgomery County! Submitting testimony to the Montgomery County Council is a powerful piece of our advocacy work. Hearing the stories and personal narratives of community members is an important component of moving elected officials to take action on the issues JUFJ and our coalition partners care about.
You don’t have to be an expert! The most effective testimony is concise, specific, and personal: it should fit on one single-spaced page, clearly identify your support for or opposition to the bill in question, and make an emotional impact. An emotional story “sticks” with the reader more than facts and figures.
If you are just getting started, click the “How To” button for a video guide on how our testimony guides and templates will work.
Once you have a sense of what you want to submit testimony for, click on the “I want to testify” button. If you are ready to submit, click the “I’m ready to submit” button. When you are ready to start writing your testimony, use the guide and templates below!
Written Testimony Templates
Click below for Google Doc testimony templates to use to write your testimony. There are templates for specific campaigns and a generic one that can be used for any campaign. When you click a template button, you will generate a new copy of the template that you can edit and use for drafting your own testimony.
- In most cases, testimony should fit on one page.
- Our position on bills is consistent with the positions of our coalitions. Should a coalition have a particular suggestion for amendments, we will communicate that to those providing testimony.
- Click on the “Campaign One Pager” button below for a one-pager about the rent stabilization campaign.
- By submitting your written testimony, you are NOT signing up to deliver oral testimony.
- Looking for examples of testimony from other JUFJers? Click the “Testimony Examples” button below for an archive of many examples from the Maryland General Assembly, Baltimore, Montgomery County, and DC.
Written Testimony Format
This testimony format is also included in the templates listed above.
OPENING: My name is (Your Name). I am a resident of (City) in District (Your County District Number – find your district here). I am submitting this testimony (in support of/in support with amendments/opposing) (Bill#), (Bill Name).
FRAMING: Start off with thanking any council members who are sponsors of the bill. Then describe who you are, including what synagogue or other organizations you belong to, but not including JUFJ. It is actually more powerful not to list JUFJ since we will also be submitting separate JUFJ testimony. Share why you care about the bill — mention your values, Jewish tradition, moral framework, personal experience with the issue, professional expertise, etc. that guide your viewpoint.
BODY: Use the body to more fully present your personal story, how it relates to the proposed bill, and how passing or rejecting the bill will improve the lives of people in Montgomery County. What do you think will be fixed/broken by passing this bill? What would have been different, positively or negatively, if this bill had been a law when your personal story occurred? In total, your testimony should be roughly a page, so you don’t need to add a ton of detail.
NOTE: Rebutting opposition arguments draws attention away from our coalitions’ messages and can inadvertently amplify the opposition. We suggest you keep your testimony focused on our coalition’s talking points and not focus on rebutting the opposition’s talking points.
CLOSING: The closing paragraph should reiterate your position on the bill. Explain why you think the bill will be effective/ineffective, outcomes that the bill will achieve, etc. This does not need to be long. End with: I urge the Council to (support/oppose) (Bill#).
Have more questions about testifying in Montgomery County? Contact Devorah.
Want to know exactly where to go, when to arrive, and how to get there? Click below for our guide to Annapolis logistics.