Tips for Taking Action

 

Tips On Telephoning a Legislator or Member of Congress

 

A telephone call is one of the most widely used methods of communicating with a legislator's office.

 

  • To find the phone number for your state legislator or member(s) of Congress, visit the Find Your Legislator section of the website. For members of Congress, you may also call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask them to connect you with your Senator's or Representative's office.

  • Remember that a staff member, not the legislator or member of Congress, takes telephone calls. Ask to speak with the staff member who handles the issue about which you wish to comment.

  • After identifying yourself, tell the staff member you would like to leave a brief message, such as: "Please tell Senator/Representative (last name) that I support/oppose (issue or bill number)."

  • You may also want to state the reasons for your support or opposition to the bill. Ask for your Senator's or Representative's position on the issue or bill. You may also request a written response to your call.

  • Always be polite and courteous.


Tips On Writing to a Legislator or Member of Congress

 

A letter or fax is still one of the more widely used methods of communicating with a legislator's office. Writing a letter gives you, as a constituent, the opportunity to express and defend your position on an issue. Your letter will be most effective if you follow a few simple guidelines:

 

  • State your purpose for writing in the first line or first paragraph of the letter. If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify it accordingly (e.g., House bills are named "H. R. ##" and Senate bills are named "S. ##").

  • Be courteous, to the point, and include key information, using examples to support your position.

  • Address only one issue in each letter and, if possible, keep the letter to one page.

  • Addressing correspondence to a federal legislator:


    ⇒ To a Senator:

    The Honorable (full name)
    United States Senate
    Washington, DC 20510
     

    Dear Senator (last name):


    ⇒ To a Representative:
    The Honorable (full name)
    United States House of Representatives
    Washington, DC  20515


    Dear Representative (last name):


    ⇒ Exception: Note that when writing to the Chair of a committee or the Speaker of the House, it is proper to address your letter as follows:
    "Dear Mr. Chairman:" or  "Dear Madam Chairwoman:" or "Dear Madam Speaker:"
     

  • Addressing correspondence to a state legislator:

    ⇒ To a State Senator:
    The Honorable (full name)
    Louisiana Senate
    (see the Find Your Legislator section to find your Legislator)

     

    Dear Senator (last name):

    ⇒ To a State Representative:
    The Honorable (full name)
    Louisiana House of Representatives
    (see the Find Your Legislator section to find your Legislator)

 

           Dear Representative (last name):

 

Tips On Sending E-Mails to a Member of Congress

 

In general, the same guidelines for writing a letter apply to e-mail messages. With an e-mail message to a legislator, however, it is very important to include your street address in the e-mail. This is the only way a legislator has of knowing that you are a constituent. In some instances, e-mails without street addresses may not receive a response. Note that when you respond to an Action Alert from this website and send an e-mail, your street (home) address is automatically included in the email.