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CU Issues Advocacy Guide for Consumers

Thursday, May 29, 2003


“Getting Action: How To Petition Government and Get Results”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Safeguarding motorists from unsafe cars. Improving patients’ rights in healthcare. And limiting the use of dangerous pesticides. All of these campaigns were advanced by citizens who successfully petitioned government agencies to protect consumers, an advocacy strategy explored in a new guide issued today by Consumers Union.

In Getting Action: How to Petition Government and Get Results, Consumers Union explains how the public can exercise the right to petition for redress of grievances guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions to make change. Getting Action takes the reader step-by-step through how to research and write a request to local, state or federal government to solve a wide range of problems facing consumers.

The book contains a compendium of state petitioning laws, worksheets for writing a petition, and sample petition letters. Tips are also presented on what to do after the petition is filed to build public support and get the result you want. Getting Action was issued today in conjunction with a petition filed by Consumers Union with the California Department of Insurance to require insurers to base their auto rates primarily on how a policyholder drives, not where they live.

“Everyone who wants to see government work effectively will appreciate this practical guide. The balanced approach of communities working with government to solve real problems is a proven way to better people’s lives. I recommend Getting Action for those who want to get things done.” Bill Lockyer, Attorney General, State of California.

“Getting Action represents truth-in-packaging. It strips away the mysterious rites of how to petition government agencies by making petitioning understandable to lay people. The book is filled with compelling and direct language illustrated by hard hitting examples that always make good sense….” David Cohen, Co-Chair Advocacy Institute; Past President Common Cause.

Copies of Getting Action can also be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking here. This updated and expanded version of Getting Action was first issued in 1980 with funding from the U.S. Office of Consumers’ Education.

Michael McCauley: 415-412-4642 (cell) / 415-431-6747


Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, is an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization, serving only the consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health, nutrition, and other consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products, inform the public, and protect consumers.