Communicating with Your Legislator

An effective way to communicate your concerns with your legislator is by writing a letter. Phone calls are the quickest method of communication, but unless your legislator is available to speak with you, your concerns will be relayed to him or her through a staff member. In this way, neither your message nor your personal touch reaches your legislator directly.

Writing a letter is simple and is, in fact, the most popular method of reaching a member of Congress. When drafting a letter, please bear in mind these few basic suggestions:

Be Direct: State the purpose of writing your legislator in the first paragraph of the letter.

Be Accurate: If your letter concerns a specific piece of legislation, identify it as such, e.g., House bill: H.R. (number), Senate bill: S. (number). The Library of Congress provides a website that will assist you in researching a House or Senate bill number. Please visit the Library of Congress at http://thomas.loc.gov/.

Be Concise: Keep the letter to one page, if possible.

Be Efficient: E-mailing or faxing your letter, as opposed to mailing it, is highly recommended. Mail typically takes four to six weeks to reach your legislator's desk, due to postal security measures in place on Capitol Hill.

Addressing your Letters:

Direct postal correspondence to your Senator as follows:
 

The Honorable (Full Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
 
Dear Senator (Name)

Direct postal correspondence to your Representative as follows:
 

The Honorable (Full Name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
 
Dear Representative (Name)