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How To Write Your Legislator

Print neatly or type keeping letter to a single page and one issue.

Be polite: avoid criticism, even if you are writing in opposition to something, say so. Explain the reasons you feel it is wrong, suggesting alternatives.

Your letter should have three paragraphs:

First paragraph:
State the issue you are writing about.  Make it short and to the point. If you are writing about a certain bill, specify its number and popular name.  If you admire your legislator for a particular reason, mention it here. Express appreciation for work already done.  Identify yourself as a constituent: a resident of the state of ………….. and your district.

Second paragraph:
Explain your motivation for writing - your family, business, or personal connection to the issue. State your position concisely in your own words.  Explain how the issue effects you, your family, business or profession--or the effect on your community or your state. Draw on your own experiences for specific illustrations highlighting your position.   If you have specialized knowledge SHARE IT WITH YOUR LEGISLATOR.  Concrete, expert arguments for or against the bill can be used by the legislator in determining the final outcome of a bill.  Your letter will be more effective if you have specialized knowledge on the issue.  Representatives have to vote on many matters with which they have had little or no first-hand experience.  Some of the most valuable information they receive comes from facts presented in letters from people who have knowledge in the field.  Identify moral, social justice issues involved.

Third paragraph:
State what you think needs to be done such as vote for or against a bill or introduce new legislation.  Urge your legislator to take a specific action.  Offer constructive suggestions.  Indicate to your legislator that you would appreciate a reply containing his or her position on the issue.  As a constituent, you have a right to know your representative's views.

Finally:
Thank your policymaker for his/her co-co-operation. "Sincerely yours," is in good taste as a complimentary close.   Remember to sign your given name and surname as well as printing it out.  Send a note of appreciation when the issue is supported or otherwise addressed favorably.
 


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