How to write your congressman

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Who are your congressmen, your senators, and representatives?

Your specific senators and representatives in congress should be easily identifiable by your librarian or local newspaper editor. This information may also be found among groups representing your particular party. They can be found locally or on the web by using a search engine or directory. You need their specific addresses at the state capital or in Washington DC and their official title as they should be addressed. An example letter may be laid out something like this.

How to construct your letter.

Include your address and phone number, the date, their address and a salutation something like the following: To the honorable Senator John Q. Politician. Now reference the topic including any specifics about bills or issues by their specific numbers or however they are known.

In the body of your letter make it clear what you know about the topic, what you know about your congressman’s involvement with that issue, what you want, and what you will do politically to get it. By stating what you will do politically I mean the following. You will be most effective if you come right out and politely but clearly tell your congressman that if they want your vote in the next election they should vote the way you are asking them to on that particular issue.

This makes it very certain where you stand and that you are serious. You can write about several issues in one letter but may find it more effective to write a separate letter on each issue. If you have any genuine political influence yourself you may want to find a way of making it known as well. Request a reply to your letter, which you should always receive regardless. Sign and date the letter.

Additional pointers.

You may ask friends and relatives if they have ever written a letter to their congressman. If they have they may be very proud to show them to you and the replies they received. The style of letter that appears to get the most favorable reply may be the one to try first. You should certainly get in the habit of writing your own senators and representatives on the state and federal levels regularly about any concerns you may have.

The longer your letter, the longer a reply you will likely receive, providing you with more information to deal with your issue. Urging others to write also on the same issues across your district, your state, and the country will add force to your voice in congress.

To gain attention and add further weight to your letter you may want to get a write up in the local newspaper’s community section about your letter and the response you received with pictures of you and the letters. This can bring greater awareness to the issues and encourage still others to write as well.

Make sure your letters carry some weight. If your congressman voted the other way more times than not, vote against them. This is the way to make your vote and your letters count.

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