Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for writing your representatives:
- Write legibly and be brief and to the point.
- Mention the bill in question.
- Give your reasons for supporting or opposing the bill.
- Be courteous and reasonable.
- When you are writing about a specific piece of legislation, a House bill is identified as H.B. a Senate bill as S.B.
- Be sure to address the elected official correctly. For instance, the governor is addressed The Honorable Mike Smith.
- Include all of your contact information.
- Send the letter to the heads of committees that will hear the bill in question.
- Double check your information for accuracy.
- Use correct grammar and complete sentences.
- If typing your letter, remember to use a spell check feature.
- Include your personal story.
- Write a follow up letter thanking the elected official.
- Try not to be longwinded.
- Avoid a righteous tone.
Refrain from apologizing for writing or for taking valuable time away from your elected official.
- Do not threaten anyone.
Keep the letter to one bill. Try not to mention more than one.
- Do not demand anything from the elected official.
- Avoid form letters.
- Do not assume that your elected official is an expert on every issue.
- Do not say or allude to politics as sleazy or dishonorable.
Below, please find a sample letter that describes in detail how to write your elected official:
Your Full Name
Your Full Address
Your City, State and Zip
Your Phone Number with Area Code
The Honorable (Insert Elected Official’s Name Here)
Elected Official’s Address
Elected Official’s City, State, Zip
Dear Title (Governor, Senator, Representative…)
In your first paragraph, mention the following points:
1. You are writing to support or oppose a specific issue (bill #).
2. Inform the elected official if you are a voter in their district.
3. Discuss how this specific issue (bill) affects you and your family.
In your second and third paragraphs, mention the following items:
1. Further elaborate how the bill affects or has affected you.
2. Share your personal connection with the issue in question. (Remember to remain brief. A short letter can accomplish just as much as a long one.)
In your last paragraph, discuss the following closing items:
1. Urge them to vote for or against the specific bill.
2. Request that the elected official write you back, informing you on their position regarding the bill.
3. Thank the elected official.
Your Full Name