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Tips for phone calls and letters
Tips for making phone calls
- Clearly state your name and where you live.
- Be prepared to make your point in several sentences.
- The staff member answering the phone is making brief notes about the subject of your call and your opinion.
- Ask for a response that includes the elected official’s position.
- Realize that the staff member answering phones may have been instructed not to make detailed comments about the issues; this is done in letters so that elected official’s position is not misrepresented.
- Follow up with a letter if possible. Mail, fax or e-mail it to the legislator’s office.
Effective Letter Writing and E-mail Techniques
- Make sure to address the elected official and your correspondence correctly. All members of Congress and the General Assembly, as well as the Governor and the President, may be addressed as “The Honorable First Name, Last Name” followed by their address. Senators, both state and U.S., are addressed as Dear Senator Last Name.” Representatives, both state and U.S. are addressed as Dear Representative Last Name.”
- State who you are and where you live in the first paragraph so it is clear that you are a constituent. Make sure that you state any credentials, for example being a member of an organization or institution that would make you particularly credible on a particular issue. For instance, if you work or volunteer at an organization with experience on your issue, say so in the your letter or E-mail. It means that you have first hand experience and knowledge about the subject that the legislator may not have. At minimum you have credentials because you live in that official’s district and you have an opinion.
- Tie the issue to the larger needs of the community. Make the long-term benefits to large groups of people known.
- Ask for a response letter or e-mail stating the elected official’s position.
- Include your name, street address, e-mail address and a phone number with area code.