Contacting Government Officials

 
THE DO’S AND DON'TS FOR CONTACTING GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

DO:

  • Get in contact!
  • Let government official know when you agree with them, not just when you disagree.
  • Be brief and to the point; discuss only one issue, and include a bill reference if possible
  • Clearly express your opinions or ideas
  • Use your own words to express your opinion
  • Include your address and signature
  • Be courteous and reasonable
  • Make contact early in the session before a bill has been introduced if you have ideas about an issue you would like to see incorporated in legislation
  • If you are lobbying for or against a bill, and your representative is a member of the committee to which it has been referred, write when the committee begins hearings
  • If your representative is not a member of a committee handling the bill, write just before the bill comes to the floor for debate and vote
  • Contact the chair and members of a committee holding hearings on legislation in which you are interested
  • While you have more influence with the representative from your own district, you are not precluded from contacting representatives from other districts
  • Contact each government official individually; it’s courteous and more effective

DON’T:

  • Apologize for contacting them—your opinion is not an imposition, and your representative is elected in part to hear your views
  • Begin on the righteous note of “as a citizen and taxpayer”
  • Be vague
  • Be rude or threatening
  • Sign and send a form or photo copied letter or e-mail