Write Your Lawmaker
Writing a letter only takes a few minutes and is a most effective way to make your point with both state and federal lawmakers. When lawmakers receive enough letters on a particular issue, lawmakers listen.
Unless they hear from you, many legislators are not aware of how strongly their constituents feel about a particular issue. Your words can sway them and help them to understand why an issue is important to those that they represent.
A letter with the best intentions can become its own worst enemy if it becomes bogged down with irrelevant and needless rhetoric. Your letter, even if it is about a very special problem, must compete for attention with dozens of other letters received daily. It is to your benefit to write your letter clearly and concisely. Make it easy for your reader to learn your views or understand the problem you need help with.
Address your letter with “The Honorable” followed by his or her name. Open the letter with “Dear Senator” or “Dear Representative” and their name.
A handwritten or neatly typed letter is best. Legibility is key. Form letters, photocopies, and preprinted postcards are less valuable and may not receive individual responses.
Be sure to include your home address so that the legislator realizes that the letter is from a constituent. Also be sure a return address appears on the letter in case the envelope is discarded.
A one-page letter is more likely to be read than a longer one.
If possible, refer to legislation either by its bill number or by its popular name in the first paragraph of your letter.
Discuss only one issue in your letter. Focus and direction ensures that your letter will be seen by the right staff member. Be courteous.
Ask the lawmaker to do something specific, for example, ask him or her to vote for a particular amendment, request hearings or co-sponsor a bill.
Explain how this issue affects you, your business, the community, the state, and particularly the economy. Facts and numbers are highly recommended if possible and appropriate.
People tend to remember a good short story told from the heart better than a ream of facts. Let your lawmaker know why the issue matters to you.