Most people are rather reluctant to write their Reps mainly because they don’t know how. What I intend to do is give a quick tutorial on the subject here. It’s not as hard as it sounds…..
The most important thing to remember when writing your letter is to BE RESPECTFUL. If you put harsh language or resort to name calling in your letter it will be tossed into the round file (garbage bin) immediately. When addressing the Rep. I suggest using the phrase “The Honorable name here ” at the top of the letter. I suggest being as diplomatic as possible in your verbiage. That will show the reader that you are making an effort to be kind and not antagonistic. I use phrases such as ” I follow this issue quite closely and let your voting on this issue guide my voting during the next election cycle”. This verbiage is diplomatic but gets your point across without saying such things as “If you don’t vote the way I want you to, I will not vote for you”. It says the same but is just a little more palatable.
Next, BE KNOWLEDGEABLE on the issue and reference it by bill number and title if you can. If the Reps gets the idea you are a crackpot and don’t really know the issue, you will be ignored out of hand. Do the research on the issue and speak to the points of the issue such as it’s background and ramifications, referencing specific verbiage in the bill if you can. Make your argument in such a way as to not “turn off” the reader and keep them engaged in your correspondence.
Next, KEEP IT SHORT. A drawn out, lengthy letter will not do you any good. If your sending a real letter, keep it down to a page or preferably less. If e-mail, keep it short too. Remember, they go through a ton of letters and ones that are too long will get round filed too.
In concluding your letter, again BE RESPECTFUL and REQUEST A REPLY either by “checking” a box on the page or if needed, in the body of the letter if no box is provided. I have always gotten a reply when requested. Now what form that reply is varies depending on the Representative. Most are of a personal nature with the exception of Congressman Brian Baird. All of his replies are of a “canned” nature and will not provide you with any type of meaningful reply. That doesn’t stop me from writing to him anyway.
Next, make sure your sending the letter to the APPROPRIATE REPRESENTATIVES. If it’s a state issue, write your state Legislative Reps. If it’s a nationwide issue, write your Reps in DC.
That’s about it. I can’t tell you what to write but I hope this gives you a little guidance. Use the links to each Representative for my area on the main page. That’s what they are there for.