Frequently Asked Questions
Visit https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/ to find who represents you.
The member’s offices are located in the Pocahontas Building, located at 900 East Main Street (across the street from Capitol Square). Before entering, all visitors are screened by a magnetometer and all items that are permitted inside the building are screened by an x-ray device.
General Assembly Office Directory can be found here.
Some offices have requested Zoom or Zoom-hybrid meetings. All Defending Life Day participants are welcome to use the auditorium on the fourth floor of the Truist/SunTrust Building across the street from the offices. There you will find the Wi-Fi passcode for the building.
Another option is subcommittee room 300-B, located on the 3rd floor of the Pocahontas Building. This room is also reserved from 10am-11am for all advocates of Defending Life Day and can hold 45 people at a time.
Because the wifi is unreliable inside the General Assembly office building, we recommend downloading the Zoom app on your phone beforehand, or using the Truist auditorium.
The Virginia Catholic Conference has advocacy tools to know before you visit offices!
Some things to keep in mind:
- Introduce yourself to the elected official or staff – if you are a constituent, make that known.
- Be polite, friendly and respectful, even when disagreements arise.
- Do not be disappointed if you are only able to meet with staff. Schedules are in constant flux during the legislative session. Staff can be an ally and are best positioned to advocate your position with their member. Ask the staff member for their business card— if they do not offer one.
- You should be able to convey your message in under 15 minutes. Identify the issue and explain how the legislator can be helpful, using the talking points VSHL and VCC have prepared. Practice what you and your district group will say before the meeting begins.
- Always thank the legislator/staff for their time regardless of the outcome of the meeting and follow-up with a thank you letter.
February can have some pretty chilly weather so we recommend flat shoes and layers that you can easily take off after a 10 minute walk while you make member visits inside the Pocahontas Building.
There are coat closets on each floor of the Pocahontas building, near the elevators. But please use these at your own risk.
*And please join us in wearing RED to stand out at the capitol – whether it’s a hat, scarf or whole outfit, red is the color of Defending Life Day and we want everyone to know it!*
The 2022 General Assembly is not mandating masks while in either the Pocahontas building or the main Capitol. You can find the House COVID Policies and Procedures here.
Note: There are certain members who may require you to be masked while inside their offices. Therefore we recommend you bring a mask with you just in case. Masks are not required in the hallways outside of offices.
The Senate and House will be conducting their floor sessions starting at noon. Advocates are welcome to be present in the galleries to be recognized by the House and Senate for Defending Life Day at the Capitol. Both chambers can be observed from above in the House or Senate Gallery, located on the 3rd floor of the capitol building. Gallery rules can be found here.
The visitor entrance can be found on the corner of Bank Street and 10th Street. See the capitol map here.
If you would like to be led by the Defending Life Day team to be seen and recognized in the House and Senate Galleries, please meet by the Capitol Gift Shop by 11:30am. From there, leaders will escort you and the group participants into the Capitol to be recognized during the floor session.
The Capitol Gift Shop is located on the lower level of the capitol, in the Capitol Extension. The entrance is on the corner of Bank and 10th Street (map). After walking through security, continue walking and you will find leaders waiting to meet you in the empty foyer between the gift shop and committee rooms. The Capitol Extension also features Meriwether’s Café (hours 10am- 3pm) and restrooms.
Between dropping off and picking up participants, buses can park all day for free at the Richmond Flying Squirrels stadium.
3001 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd.
Richmond, VA 23230
Please note there is no public parking on the Capitol Square grounds.
Greater Richmond Convention Center is a good option for parking – it is where we will gather in the morning and it is a just a 10 minute walk to the Capitol Square grounds. The address for the Parking Garage of the Convention Center is 351 N. Third Street. More detailed directions can be found HERE. Cost is $7.00 per vehicle for the entire day.
Public Parking: A limited number of metered public parking spaces (2 hours) are on Bank Street, between Governor and 14th Streets, on the south side of Main Street, between 9th and 12th Streets and on 12th Street between Main and Bank Streets.
Note: Due to ongoing construction projects in Downtown Richmond, some parking lots listed on the links above may not exist any longer. If you have any questions about parking lots in the Capitol vicinity, please call the Capitol Tour Desk at (804) 698-1788.
Since this is an advocacy-centered event, large signs or banners are not appropriate for this day. But they are fully encouraged during our state March for Life at a later date!
Mass concelebrated by Bishop Knestout and Bishop Burbidge will take place at the Pro-Cathedral of St. Peter at 12:05pm.
Address: 800 East Grace Street, Richmond, VA 23218
Downtown Richmond has a variety of dining options within walking distance of the Capitol.
The Truist Place building features a cafeteria (Meriwether’s Market, located on the 3rd Floor) and coffee shop (Meriwether’s Coffee & Sundries, located in the 1st Floor Lobby) located at 919 E. Main Street.
The Capitol is open to the general public from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. The Capitol Tour Guides are located in the Rotunda on the 2nd floor of the Capitol.
More tour information and maps can be found here.
Join the advocacy networks of VSHL and VCC to get alerts for pro-life legislation and General Assembly updates. This is a great opportunity to use the personal connections made from Defending Life Day and follow up with your members when an important bill is up for a vote.