Writing an Email
Emails from constituents and groups are always important to our legislators. By following a few simple rules, your email can have a greater impact on your Senator or Representative:
- Always put your name, address and phone number somewhere in the email.
- Identify your subject quickly, and include the number of the bill, if known.
- Clearly state your reasons for writing. Your own personal experience is the best support that you can offer for your position or opinion. Explain how the issue will affect you, your family, your business or community.
- Do not use a template! Avoid generic phrases that give the appearance of a form letter. Personal emails are the most effective.
- Ask for your legislator’s position on the issue, and ask for a reply.
- Always be polite. Be reasonable and do not ask for the impossible. Threatening, or the use of other “strong arm” tactics will probably hurt your cause.
- Courtesy is important! Thank your representative if they please you with a vote. They will appreciate it when you tell them that they are doing a good job, if that is your belief. Don’t be afraid to tell them when they displease you, but do it politely.
- It is best to write before the session begins, because that is when they have more time to consider issues. After the session ends, you can follow up with a reference to your earlier email.
When talking with legislators and policy makers, keep in mind that they are bombarded with requests and information on a daily basis. As such, please have the details of your message prepared in advance of any direct discussion with legislators. It may be helpful to have a brief, concise fact sheet available to leave behind for legislators or their staff.
The following are helpful hints for preparing fact sheets:
- Remember to keep it brief and concise.
- As a rule of thumb, keep the information to a maximum of one page.
- Make sure you are able to back up the information with references and/or data.
- Don’t be too wordy.
Look to other organizations who are experts in the field. Many times there is already a fact sheet out there on your issue area of interest that you may find useful.