Tips on Writing Your Legislator
Senators and Representatives pay attention to their mail—it's good politics. Many legislators have e-mail capability but personally respond only by regular mail.
Responding to mail is crucial to reelection and members know your vote can be won or lost by their response. Remember, the most effective letter is a personal one that is short, informed and polite. Many PACs (Political Action Committees) recommend a three-paragraph letter structured like this:
- Try to stick to one typed page.
- Say why you are writing and who you are. List your "credentials." (If you want a response, you must include your name and address, even when using email.)
- State your purpose in a short, opening paragraph. Stick with one subject/issue and support your position with the rest of the letter.
- Be factual and support your position with specific (rather than general) information about how the subject/legislation is likely to affect you and others. Avoid emotional, philosophical arguments.
- If a certain bill is involved, cite the correct title and number whenever possible (e.g., HR 1234: The Example Audiology Bill). Sometimes it is also appropriate to include who introduced the bill (e.g., Phillip Sherman, R-TX).
- Close by asking for the legislator's views. Encourage the action you want taken, but do not demand it (e.g., a vote for or against a bill, or change in general policy).
- Remember, Senators and Representatives respond to a variety of views. Even if they do not support your position on one issue or bill, they may support it the next time.
A template and an example are included below. If you have any questions or are in need of any assistance, please contact Rachael Sifuentes, Associate Director of SAA and Volunteer Engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org.