Hints for Writing to Your Legislator
From the Spring '96 issue of Hopes & Dreams, newsletter of the Illinois Chapter, Huntington's Disease Society of America.
Copied from Update, Newsletter of HDSA/Delaware Valley Chapter
Have you seen articles in the newspaper regarding pending legislation with which you don't agree? Do you hear news reports regarding proposals which you think are a bad idea? Do you ever want to tell your elected representatives at the federal or state level just what you think?
If you answered "YES" to any of these questions, then here are some tips on writing to your legislator to advocate that he/she vote for/against a pending bill.
- Write on your personal stationery or plain paper, not on business letterhead. Legislators like to hear from those people who actually elected them to office.
- Include your name and return address on both the letter and the envelope. Sometimes envelopes are discarded before the letter is answered.
- Use a personal touch. Mention how the bill will benefit or hurt you and your family on a personal level.
- Never merely photocopy a "generic" letter provided by any organization and send it in. Legislators are unlikely to be persuaded by "carbon copy" letters.
- State the name of the legislation in the first paragraph. Include the bill number if you can. These touches tend to show that you are knowledgeable on the issues about which you are writing.
- Keep it short. Limit your comments to one page and, preferably, one issue.
- Ask for specific action. Let your legislator know what you want him/her to do. "I want you to vote for/against this bill."
The following example of an address/salutation format is appropriate:
The Honorable John Smith
U.S. Senate/U.S. House of Representatives/
Senate of [State]/[State] House of Representatives
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Senator/Representative Smith:
Note: To find your legislators, their regular addresses, and their email addresses, see http://www.stardot.com/zipper/
Send comments to Renette Davis by clicking here.
Last updated: Dec. 2, 2010