posted on Jan, 30 2013 @ 05:21 PM
How To: Write Letters to Congress
With all that people are either upset over or even happy about with the U.S. I figured I would post this tutorial (in addition, a video tutorial for
those that don't wish to read the tutorial). With all credit going to the writer (and creator of the optional video included at the end of this
Robert has logged over 26 years of experience in municipal government in Texas and California cities. He has also served as About's Guide to U.S.
Government since October 1997. You can also read more about Robert's current and past work on his Google Profile:
Perhaps this tutorial will provide individuals (members of ATS and lurkers alike) with at least the basics in regards to effective communication when
writing letters to the Legislative Branch of the U.S. Government.
In turn, if enough people properly
make their elected officials aware of their concerns (or praise for that matter) in regards to the way this
country is run then all of the effort that is given towards what may be considered an unconventional means of expressing one's views and opinions may
not fall on deaf ears when properly composed and delivered.
Addressing Members of Congress
So, you're going to write your Congressman? Good idea. Make it a good letter.
People who think members of Congress pay little or no attention to constituent mail, are plain wrong. Concise, well thought out personal letters are
one of the most effective ways Americans have of influencing law-makers. But, members of Congress get hundreds of letters and emails every day.
Whether you choose to use the Postal Service or email, here are some tips that will help your letter have impact.
It's usually best to send letters to the representative from your local Congressional District or the senators from your state. Your vote helps elect
them -- or not -- and that fact alone carries a lot of weight. It also helps personalize your letter. Sending the same "cookie-cutter" message to
every member of Congress may grab attention but rarely much consideration.
Keep it Simple
Your letter should address a single topic or issue. Typed, one-page letters are best. Many PACs
(Political Action Committees) recommend a three-paragraph letter
structured like this:
1. Say why you are writing and who you are. List your "credentials." (If you want a response, you must include your name and address, even when
2. Provide more detail. Be factual not emotional. Provide specific rather than general information about how the topic affects you and others. If a
certain bill is involved, cite the correct title or number whenever possible.
3. Close by requesting the action you want taken: a vote for or against a bill, or change in general policy.
The best letters are courteous, to the point, and include specific supporting examples.
Finding Their Addresses
To Your Senator:
The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
To Your Representative:
The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The above addresses should be used in email messages, as well as those sent through the Postal Service.
Senate and House of Representatives
U.S. Senators (web sites and mailing addresses)
Write Your U.S. Representative (A service of the House that will assist you by
identifying your Congressperson in the U.S. House of Representatives and providing contact information.
He even includes the Judicial Branch:
U.S. Supreme Court
Contact Information - US Supreme Court
The Justices do not have email addresses, but they do read letters from citizens.
Here are some key things you should always and never do in writing to your elected representatives.
1. Be courteous and respectful without "gushing."
2. Clearly and simply state the purpose of your letter. If it's about a certain bill,
identify it correctly. If you need help in finding the number of a bill,
use the Thomas Legislative Information System.
3. Say who you are. Anonymous letters go nowhere. Even in email, include your correct name, address, phone number and email address. If you don't
include at least your name and address, you will not get a response.
4. State any professional credentials or personal experience you may have, especially those pertaining to the subject of your letter.
5. Keep your letter short -- one page is best.
6. Use specific examples or evidence to support your position.
7. State what it is you want done or recommend a course of action.
8. Thank the member for taking the time to read your letter.
1. Use vulgarity, profanity, or threats. The first two are just plain rude and the third one can get you a visit from the Secret Service. Simply
stated, don't let your passion get in the way of making your point,
2. Fail to include your name and address, even in email letters.
3. Demand a response.
Cite these legislation identifiers when writing to members of Congress:
House Bills: "H.R._____"
House Resolutions: "H.RES._____"
House Joint Resolutions: "H.J.RES._____"
Senate Bills: "S._____"
Senate Resolutions: "S.RES._____"
Senate Joint Resolutions: "S.J.RES._____"
There are other very useful links on the page but I thought this particular tutorial would be a good thread as well as a good addition to ATS.
Here is the link to the Video Tutorial: Video:How to Write a Letter to
Personal letters are one of the most effective ways Americans have of influencing law-makers, so citizens should write a letter to congress with
ideas. See how to effectively write a letter to congress.
I would be remiss if I didn't end the thread with this quote...
"The pen is mightier than the sword"
edit on 1/30/2013 by UberL33t because: typos