Contacting Your Legislator
Public officials need to understand what individuals and organizations desire and dislike.
Keep in contact with your elected officials.
Tips for e-mailing your legislators:
- Properly address your representative, i.e. Dear Representative or Senator (last name)
- Introduce yourself: A simple statement such as, “I am (who) from (where) is important.
- Be specific: Clearly identify the particular legislation about which you are writing. Moreover, because bills are amended often, it is beneficial to identify the specific provisions or version that you are discussing.
- State your case: Tell your views as concisely as possible. What the legislation means to your profession and community is the most potent argument. Give reasons why the proposal warrants support or opposition and exactly what steps you are asking the legislator to take.
- Keep the communication short. Make your point, but don’t waste words.
- Ask for a response. Whenever appropriate, include a question in your letter that will elicit an answer. Ask your legislator for his or her view on the mater or its impact on your profession.
- Be sure to make an appointment.
- Always introduce yourself, even if you have met the legislator before.
- Get to your point quickly. It is important to be brief, direct and simple
- Be courteous. Your goal is to explain, inform and persuade. Elected officials are to be respected regardless of the positions that they take.
- Follow up your visit with a letter stating your appreciation for the time given and restate your position.
Telephoning your Legislators:
- Be prepared before you pick up the phone. Make a list of points you wish to make in the conversation.
- Know the appropriate bill, author, its general purpose and the rationale for your support or opposition.
- Always start the conversation with your name, position and municipality where you live.
- Ask to speak to the legislator’s aide if the legislator is not available.
- Briefly state your position on the bill or issue.
- If you are speaking to the legislator’s aide ask that a written copy of your conversation be given to the legislator
- Thank the legislator or aide for his/her time.
- Follow up your call with a letter stating your appreciation for the time given and reinforce your points.