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Tips For Writing To Elected Officials
Writing to your elected official is one of the easiest ways of conveying your thoughts and concerns on an issue to elected officials. Taking five minutes to write to them does make a difference.
It is especially important to write to to your own legislator. When an elected official receives numerous letters or emails on a specific issue, it does influence their vote. Some tips for writing a letter to an elected official follow:
- Address elected officials properly (e.g. "Rep. ________").
- State that you are a constituent.
- Include your full name and address. If you have met the legislator before, you may want to provide a brief summary of where you met.
- Write the email or letter as an individual. Legislators prefer hearing from “real constituents,” rather than representatives. Write about your personal experience and how the issue affects you.
- Be brief and concise. An email should be one or two paragraphs, while a letter should not exceed a page.
- Mention legislation by citing a specific bill number and name or its principal sponsors (You can search for specific bills here). If the bill is not well known, a short summary of the bill may be necessary to include.
- Request a specific action. Be sure to state exactly what you want the elected official to do. If appropriate, ask the legislator to vote for a particular bill or amendment, request a hearing, or co-sponsor a bill.
- Ask the legislator to reply to your letter or email. Ask that he or she state their position on the issue in the reply.
- If writing a letter, include a return address. Ensure that you include a return address in your letter.
- Write a follow-up letter or email. If you asked for a reply and did not receive one within a week, write another letter asking for a response. If the legislator complied with your request (e.g., voted favorably for a bill), send a thank you note. It is a refreshing change to most letters they receive.
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OLCV Education Fund works to increase the political effectiveness of Oregon's environmental community by educating, training, and coordinating citizens and organizations.