Why is it important you write your legislator?
Representatives have a lot of constituents in districts that span urban/rural divides, income disparities, and a myriad of interests. Daily, they are faced with multiple issues from public safety, to the budget, to healthcare. Since representatives and their average staff members cannot be experts on every issue, providing them with a clear, concise, and actionable position makes their job of representing your interests easier.
Taking the time to establish a relationship with your representative establishes you as a thoughtful constituent. If you really want to get involved, send a letter once a quarter about an issue that is important to you, but not urgent. That way, when a truly urgent or hot button issue for you comes up, your opinion may be considered with added value.
If once a quarter seems too daunting, don’t worry. Writing once in a blue moon about something vital to you is also effective.
What to Say. Be Clear. Be Concise. Be Respectful.
1. Think “straightforward” and “succinct”
- Present one issue at a time.
- Provide a clear yes/no stand on this issue.
- Back up your stand with a maximum of three arguments
2. Introduce yourself
- State you live in their district
- State your qualifications to speak on the issue (if you have them)
- State group memberships (if applicable)
3. Provide a narrative on the issue
A personal story about how the issue affects you
How this affects the community / state
4. Highlight a personal connection (if possible)
- I voted for you
- I met you at a BBQ
- I also play baseball
5. Sign your name and address
6. Be Passionate. Show You Care. Do not go overboard
Samples & Templates
- Post Card
Dear Rep X.
Please support programs to curb illegal dumping. Illegal dumps harm the local community by causing diseases that keep people out of work. I want my community to prosper and everyone to reach their full potential.
Thank you for your time,
District 12, Your Town, Zip Code
(for security – you don’t have to list your full address if you don’t want to)
Click on the image below to download a Post Card template to fill and print. (Thanks to our friends at EScAN)
Dear Rep X,
I am Vicky Voter, and I live in your district.
I ask you to support programs to reduce illegal tire dumping. This is important because tire dumps have been shown to cause chronic health problems in nearby communities. The standing water attracts vermin that carry disease. The runoff waste seeps into the local farmland and water sources.
My Aunt Louise lives near an unregulated tire dump. She now has chronic asthma. The fumes inflame her symptoms. After too many sick days, she lost her job and is now on disability. She has worked all her life as a teacher. She loved helping people. Now she can no longer do the things she loves. Not only is she suffering, but her local community has lost out on a terrific teacher.
[OR Tire dumps are often located near low-income neighborhoods. Residents develop chronic diseases and cannot work, further sliding into economic vulnerability. Think of all the people who want to work, who could be making their communities better, and the opportunities lost.]
I voted for you last fall, in part, because of your platform about getting people back to work.
Thank you for your time,Sincerely,
123 Main St, Your Town, State
@REPX – Please vote “yes” on BILL 7324
CAUTION: tweet history is an open book. Be mindful of your post history.
What Happens to Your Message?
NOTE: It is very important to be clear on your yes or no opinion.
Address one issue, provide one action.
Provide a method to follow-up with you.
How to Find your Legislator
in the Senate
in the House
in your State
How else can I exercise my voice?
Vote in Elections
Check your status and register to vote — USA.gov has links to online registration and voter status for 39 states plus DC
Weigh In — Georgia/National Science Advisory Panel
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