Write Your Congressperson

write-congress

It becomes clearer every day that we need to remain watchful and vigilant, and fight hard to keep justice at the forefront of our lawmakers’ minds. Learn how to make the most noise. 

Key Points:

  • One issue per letter
  • Refer to bills by name and number
  • Send to the district address
  • Briefly identify why you are writing
  • Be polite and use formal titles
  • Provide supporting evidence
  • Keep your letter to one page
  • End on a call to action

Before You Write:

  1. Select one issue to write about per letter. This makes it easier for congressional staff to categorize letters and inform the congressperson about what voters want. Consider writing to support a congressperson’s position: they like hearing they’ve done well.
  2. Look up your congressman’s local office address: letters here can be more effective.
  3. If writing about a bill, find the official name and number at https://www.congress.gov.
  4. Find out what your congressperson has publicly said about the issue or bill in question.
  5. Find some evidence that supports your argument, using sources that the congressperson will find credible. Newspapers of record, NPR, news wires, and reports by non-partisan organizations are some sources are broadly considered credible.

Writing Your Letter:

  1. Use a formal style for your letter. Include inside addresses. Refer to all people by their correct and current official titles.  Do not call Trump “Lord Voldemorange.”
  2. Be brief and polite, but write in your own words. Form letters are easy to spot!
  3. Write three body paragraphs. Note: Use this same basic organization when calling a congressperson’s office.
    • Paragraph one: identify yourself as a constituent (if applicable), and briefly introduce what you are writing about. If you are writing about a bill, use the name and number you looked up earlier. If you found information about the congressperson’s position, you can allude to it here.
    • Paragraph two: Identify and explain your position. How does the issue impact you? Why do you personally care? Include some of that evidence you found—but don’t go overboard! If you have a lot of information, include some of the most compelling or important items.
    • Paragraph three: Call to action. Request that the congressperson take a specific action. Politeness is key: make requests, encourage action, but do not make demands. If you disagree with a bill, offer a constructive alternative. If they support a bill you like, ask them to co-sponsor it. If you have more information that didn’t fit in paragraph two, offer to send them additional information.
  4. Make sure your letter fits on one page, including for your signature and typed name.

Before You Send Your Letter:

  1. After writing, wait a day to review your letter. Try reading it aloud to check for errors.
  2. Ask someone else to review the letter for you.
  3. Letters to congress go through security screening. This can take two weeks. Try to sure to send your letter at least three weeks before Congressional action so it can be processed. If there isn’t that much time, try a phone call. Calls tend to be quick and staffers are nice.
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