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Advocacy

Let lawmakers know how you stand on a particular issue by sending a letter or e-mail to members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives or to the President. Just follow the suggestions below in order to increase the effectiveness of your message.

  1. Decide what you want to say.
    Limit your message to one point and make sure to ask the Senator or Representative to take action related to your issue.
  2. Determine to whom you want to send the message.

To find your Representative, click here
To find your Senator, click here

Addressing your message

To a Senator:

The Honorable (Full Name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator (Last Name)

To a Representative:

The Honorable (Full Name)
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. (Last Name)

Compose your message using the tips.

  • Keep it short — Limit your letter to one page and one issue.
  • Identify yourself and the issue — In the first paragraph of your letter state who you are and what issue you are writing about. If you are referring to a specific bill, identify it by number (e.g. H.R. 2372 or S. 1287).
  • Focus on your main points — Choose the three strongest points to support your argument and develop them clearly. Too much information can distract from your position.
  • Make it personal — Tell your legislator why the issue matters to you and how it affects you, your family, and your community. Make a connection to the legislator. Did you vote for him/her? Did you contribute to the campaign?
  • Ask for a reply — Include your name and street address (not just your email address) in the message.
  • Trust your voice — Be polite and take a firm position in your letter. Be confident in your understanding of the issue and remember that the legislator may know less than you. Make sure to thank your elected officials when they vote the way you want.

Letter, Fax, Phone, or Email?

A typed or handwritten letter carries the most weight with any recipient. However, security procedures can keep your message from arriving in a timely manner. Faxes take less time and are almost as good as a letter because a physical document still reaches the recipient. A telephone call shows that you care enough while offering an opportunity for feedback if you can actually speak with the recipient. Emails require less commitment from the sender and recipients have this in mind when they read emails.

Follow Up

Thank your legislator for their response and, if they follow through, their action.