April 23, 2014

Communicating with Congress

A handwritten, one-page letter is a letter that winds up on a legislator’s desk. It should be positive and it should be specific as to the action you are requesting.

Always include your correct address and telephone number and ask your for a response to your letter.

If you must communicate by telephone, be courteous and be specific about the action you are requesting. Offer to provide your address and telephone number.

Tips on writing to a member of Congress

Writing a letter is the most popular choice of communication with a congressional office. If you decide to write a letter, the following is a list of helpful suggestions that will improve the effectiveness of your letter.

  1. Your purpose in writing the letter should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If the letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify it accordingly, e.g., House Bill H.R. _____ or Senate _____.
  2. Be courteous, to the point, and include key information, using examples to support your position.
  3. Address only one issue in each letter and, if possible, keep the letter to one page.

Addressing correspondence

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):

Note: When writin g to the chair of a committee or the Speaker of the House, it is proper to address them as Dear Mr. Chairman, Dear Madam Chairwoman or Dear Mr. Speaker.

Sending email to Congress

All members of Congress have an email address that ends in house.gov or senate.gov. The body of your message should use the following format:

Your name
Your address
City, State, ZIP

Dear (title) (last name):
Start your message here.

Remember, your senator or representative is in office to serve you. In his or her role as a legislator, the person you elected must represent all the people.

It is his or her duty to speak for the majority, to listen to the minority and to protect the rights of all. When you let them know of your feelings on any subject, you are helping them to do their job better.