Tips to Contacting Your Legislator

How to Write/Email Your Legislator

1. Use your senator’s title in correspondence: “Dear Senator _______” or “Dear Representative _______.” Don’t address a legislator as “Congressman.”

2. Describe the bill by popular name and by House or Senate file number. Put that in the subject line if youre sending an email.

3. Know if your legislator is one of the authors and acknowledge it.

4. State the issue and how you want your elected official to vote in your first sentence.

5. Be brief and clear. Give a concise statement of your reasons. Never write more than one page.

6. Be polite in your requests for support or opposition and give reasons why. Never demand or express anger. Never threaten defeat at the next election. You want to have future contact with the legislator.

7. Offer to be of assistance. Offer to testify if there is a hearing regarding the issue with which you are concerned.

8. Include your name and address (with zip code) and indicate that you are a constituent.

9. Use your own words. Do not use form letters.

10. Write about only one issue per letter or email.

11. Send a note of appreciation when your elected official supports your issue.

How to Phone Your Legislator

1. State your name, address and indicate that you are a constituent.

2. Give the name and House or Senate File number of the legislation that you are speaking to.

3. State clearly whether you oppose or support the legislation. Usually you will be speaking with a secretary or aide who is checking pro or con and the call will last a very short time.

4. State how you want your legislator to vote.

How to Visit Your Legislator in Person

1. Follow the same hints that apply to written and email correspondence.

2. Make appointments if possible. Keep them. Be prompt.

3. Have a hand-out to leave behind. Put your name, address and phone number on it. (Contact [email protected] if you need help preparing materials.)

4. Know the views of those opposing you. (Contact [email protected] if you need help understanding the points of opposition from others in the educational community.)

5. Ask directly for your legislator’s position on the pending bill. (Please share this information with the MCGT by emailing [email protected])

6. Send a note afterwards to tell your legislator you appreciated the meeting. It could include a brief recap of the information you wanted to emphasize.