Tips on Writing a Member of Congress
Shared by: nha12847
Tips on Writing a Member of Congress: Senator and Representatives pay attention to their mail. It’s good politics. Responding to mail is crucial to reelection. A member knows your vote can be won or lost by his/her response. The most effective letter is a personal one, not a form letter. It should be concise, informed and polite. Some specific tips: Try to stick to one typewritten page. Two pages at the most. Don’t write on the back of a page. If writing longhand, take care to write legibly. In short first paragraph, state your purpose. Stick with one subject or issue. Support your position with rest of letter. If a bill is the subject, cite it by name and number, e.g., House Bill: “H.R.________” or Senate bill: “S. _________” Be factual and support your position with information about how legislation is likely to affect you and other. Avoid emotional philosophical arguments. If you believe legislation is wrong and should be opposed, say so indicate the likely adverse effects, and suggest a better approach. Ask for the legislator’s views but do not demand support. Remember, Senators and Representatives respond to a variety of views, and even if your position is not supported on one issue of bill, it may be on another. Be sure your name and return address are legible. The suggested address style is: The Honorable _______________ United States Senate Washington, DC 20510 Dear Senator_________________ The Honorable _______________ United States House of Representatives Washington DC, 20510 Dear Representative____________ Check the Members website for an e-mail address. More members are paying attention to e-mail messages from their constituents. In most cases, expect a quick acknowledgement via e-mail and then a letter in the U.S. mail at a later date which explains the member’s position in depth. You can shape your approach by knowing about the legislator to whom you are writing. Use the member’s website. Know the member’s committee assignments, interests and background. If you believe you have something in common or admire a position or statement of the legislator even on an issue unrelated to the subject of your letter, then state this in your letter.