Communicating With Your Elected Representatives

Letters and Faxes

Letters from constituents have become the main form of voter contact and the primary source of home district views. Your senators and representatives need and want to hear from you in order to keep informed about what the people back home really care about. We understand that hard copy letters and faxes carry the most weight. Many offices do not have the staff to print off the emails so even though this method is easy and quick, it is not of much value.

Here are a few guidelines:

  • Be sure to show your actual home address and zip code on letters and faxes.
  • Write on your personal or business letterhead if possible, and place your signature over your typed name at the end of your message. If you have a title or are writing on behalf of a group, association, or company, use your letterhead and include a brief description of yourself or group.
  • Be sure your exact return address is on the letter, not just the envelope. Envelopes sometimes get thrown away before the letter is answered.
  • Identify your subject clearly. State the name of the legislation you are writing about. Give the House or Senate bill number if you are writing about specific legislation.
  • State your reason for writing, state your views clearly and succinctly. Your own personal experience is your best supporting evidence. Explain how the issue would affect you, your organization, or your family.
  • Avoid stereotyped phrases and sentences that give the appearance of “form” letters. They tend to identify your message as part of an organized pressure campaign, this is not the best way to create an impact.
  • Ask your legislator to state his or her position on the issue in reply. As a constituent, you are entitled to know his or her views.
  • Consider the factor of timing. Try to write your position on a bill while it is in committee, before a final vote has been cast.
  • Thank your legislator if he/she if you are pleased with their vote. Everyone appreciates a complimentary letter–and remembers