Speak Loudly — on Paper
Even if, like most people, you can’t visit your legislator in-person, you can lobby through writing. Members understand the importance of these letters—respond poorly, and they could lose a vote and possibly reelection. Always include your home address so your legislator takes you seriously as a real, living —voting— constituent.
10 Tips for a Powerful Lobbying Letter or Email:
1. Address your correspondence correctly.
Address them as "The Honorable _____________"
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator _______________
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative ________________
2. Make your name and home address legible.
3. Keep it to one, typewritten page — two at most.
4. In your first paragraph, get to the point quickly. State your purpose. Bring up just one subject or issue at a time. Use the rest of your letter to illustrate your position.
5. If referring to a bill, cite it by name and number (i.e. "H.R.__" for House Bill and "S.__" for Senate Bill).
6. If you disagree with any legislation, by all means, say so. Let them know how you feel about a particular issue. Tell them how it will affect you and others in your community. You might even suggest a better approach they should take.
7. Ask for your legislator's point of view.
8. Know how your senators or representatives stand on an issue before you write. Familiarize yourself with their voting record, committee assignments and other background information.
9. Ask them for their consideration and thank them for their service.
10. Everyone wants to be acknowledged, so you can enhance your relationship with your elected officials by thanking them for supporting your favorite bills. Tell them about the positive things their actions have helped accomplish.
Your legislators and their staff are also available by email. This may be the quickest way to get a response, if time is an issue (eg., they’re about to vote on a bill you support). Mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service must be screened by security and this process can take two weeks. Emails can be sent through the legislator’s website. Please note that often only constituents can send an email directly to their senator or representative.