Writing to a Government Official

Congress Style

Image via Google Images - The Science Magazine

Do you feel strongly about something going on in politics right now? (I'm sure your answer is, "Yes," like many other of the millions of Americans). Do you express your political beliefs/feelings to friends and family members? (I'm sure the answer is also, "Yes"). Instead of ranting to others, how about you write the politician him/her self? I'm sure you're thinking, "No, they already have enough stuff going on, they don't have time for me." I thought the same thing before I wrote to Illinois Senator, Tammy Duckworth. I've written to her twice and she has personally responded both times! I wrote about issues regarding human trafficking, a topic I feel very strongly about. The fact that she answered back, heard my voice, and promised to do something about it made my day. If you truly want to make a difference about something you really care about, I strongly encourage you to do the same!

*Don't know how to start or what to say? Here are a few steps to help you out :-)

Step 1: Decide Who to Write To

There are many government officials you can reach out to regarding issues. If you're writing about a local issue in your town, I suggest contacting a representative in your district. If you're writing about a state-wide issue, I would suggest reaching out to one of (or both) your two state senators. Determining the type of issue you're writing about and who to send it to not only increases the chances of a response but also the chances of something being done about it. 

Step 2: Find Contact Information

This really isn't that difficult at all. All you have to do is Google "contact Senator/Representative _____" and you should have all the info you need. One of the links will take you to the U.S. Senate website where it will have you fill out a form for an email message, or will provide you with an address to send a letter to. (I recommend sending an email because you are more likely to get a response, and a quicker response). If you are sending a letter and there are multiple office addresses, I recommend you send it to the office in your state capital because the Senator/Representative will be there more often than the others.

Step 3: TYPE YOUR MESSAGE

I suggest typing your message in Word/Google Docs first, but if you just start typing in the message box, that is okay too. Here is a template of what a great letter should look like: 

Image credit to author

Step 4: WAIT

No one likes to wait, but you have to understand that Congressmen and women are very busy people. It may take them a couple of days or even a few weeks to get back to you. If it's been over a month since you've heard anything, it's okay to send the same message again! (That's why I said to write in Word/Google Docs first, so you can save your message). You can show you truly care about hearing back from them by being a little persistent.

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