Tips for Writing to Your Legislator

Writing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with a congressional office. Informed, well-timed, clearly written letters can have an effect on political decisions. Most congressional offices keep tallies of constituent positions on issues so they can tell whether a decision has cost them or gained them a vote in the next election. The most effective letter is a personal one, not a form letter. The letter should be concise, informed and polite. Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing your legislator.

  • KISS – Keep It Short & Simple:
    Your position should be stated in the first paragraph. Address one issue in each letter and try to keep the letter to one page to ensure that it will be read. Too much information can distract from your position.
  • Be Direct:
    If your letter pertains to a specific bill, refer to the bill by number. Include key information and be to the point. Be factual and support your position with relevant facts, avoiding emotionalism.
  • Identify Yourself:
    Always include your name, address and telephone number in the letter and offer to supply additional information upon request. If you are a constituent or writing as a member of an association, mention this.
  • State the Action You Desire:
    Make sure you let the legislator know what you want so he/she can act accordingly. Thank the Member for taking the time to consider your views.
  • Proofread and Spell-Check Your Letter:
    Typos and grammatical errors will reduce your credibility.

Don’t be afraid to follow-up your letter with a call. A staff member usually takes calls to the office. Try to identify the staffer who has responsibility for your issue in advance.

Write out a list of the points you wish to cover during the call.

 Use the links below to find your legislator: