Writing to your legislator about issues of importance to you can make a huge difference in the way that they vote and how seriously they consider your issues. In our world of instant communication, an old fashioned letter will catch the atttention of your legislator as well as their office staff.
A few quick tips as you pick up your pen:
- If your handwriting is nice, use it! At least your legislators will KNOW that you didn’t write a form letter to fifty people! A typed
page is also good. Use enough space and bullet point some of your acts/points.
- Adding a personal touch to your letter is great – it makes you REAL to your legislators. Include a family picture, send a card, include a
newspaper clipping about the issue, etc.
- Address your legislator correctly – “Dear Senator Smith/Representative Brown”
- Briefly introduce yourself and who you are in the community.
- Make your point, using good facts (if you quote statistics, reference them). When possible, personalize the issue. Tell them why its important, how the issue will make a difference in the district, etc.
- Don’t get too long winded or ramble on and on. Make your point and leave them thinking. It is better to send several shorter letters rather than one that is so long that they never get to the end of it.
- Ask for a specific action – “Please support House Bill ___” or Please vote Senate Bill ___ out of your committee”
- Be sure to include complete contact information and suggest that they contact you if they have questions or would like further information. Address, email, phone number, etc.
- Emails are also good, and are almost always read personally by the legislator if they sound personal. There is also a good chance that your legislator may reply personally because it’s quick and easy with email.