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Writing to your Congressional representatives

 

Legislators value your opinions

. As a constituent, your experiences and stories are more persuasive than the media, government information sources and lobbyists. Phrases, stories and statistics you provide may be used for hearings, meetings and speeches. 

Persuasive letters

  • are brief;
  • are concise and tell the member what you want him or her to do, such as co-sponsor or vote for a specific bill;

  • provide personal and specific examples of how the issue will affect people;

  • ask specific questions; and

  • explain your commitment to the issue.

The Letter Route

  • Your letters are forwarded to the legislative aide responsible for the issue.
  • The aide assesses the persuasiveness of the letter and summarizes it for the member. Depending upon the volume of mail, your letter may be very significant. If the volume of mail is small for a particular issue, the member may perceive the issue to be unimportant to his or her District--your letter could change that perception. If the volume of mail is heavy for a particular issue, your letter could challenge differing opinions expressed in other letters or help confirm the opinions of those who share your views.

  • The legislative aide then prepares a response. In many cases this will be a standardized reply; however, if your letter was unique and asked very specific questions, you will receive an individualized letter.

Write again

  • when you have additional information, such as a relevant newspaper article.
  • to express appreciation for a member's support.

  • when a response from the member was vague, or he or she misunderstood your message.
 

When

  • Early in a legislative session to alert them to a concern.

  • When a bill is being debated either in committee or on the floor.

  • After a bill has been passed in Congress or the State Assembly

Whom to Contact

  • Your Senators and Representatives

  • Members of congressional committees and subcommittees which handle the issue

  • Your Senators and Representatives

  • Members of congressional committees and subcommittees which cover the issue

  • The President

  • Governors



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