1. Handwritten preferred.
2. Keep it short; one page maximum for a letter.
3. Identify yourself (include your name and address) as a constituent.
4. Refer to a bill by its name and call number (example: "State Midwifery Act" HB 315).
5. Personalize your letter. Put it in your own words, include a sentence or two about your personal experience with the issue, or a sentence or two about the local impact of the legislation in question.
6. Clearly tell the legislator what you want her/him to do ("please vote in favor of HB 315").
7. Be sure to sign your letter!
8. Mail or FAX your letter right away.
9. A postcard is quick and effective. Identify yourself and the bill, say what you want your legislator to do, and mail it!
10. ALWAYS THANK THE LEGISLATOR FOR HER/HIS ATTENTION, ETC.!
Address your letters properly:
The Honorable (Senator's name) or The Honorable (Representative's Name).
Address (at the state capitol).
Dear Senator (Name) or Dear Representative (Name).
Tips on phone calls:
1. Prepare - plan what you want to say, and have the bill number and name at hand.
2. Always identify yourself by name and as a constituent.
3. Be courteous and friendly (remember the Golden Rule).
4. You will reach a secretary or aide (be nice! These people can be very helpful!). You can:
- Ask your legislator to return your call, OR
- Tell the aide or secretary what you want the legislator to do. ALWAYS SAY THANK YOU!
5. If you speak to the legislator directly:
- Identify yourself by name and as a constituent.
- Identify the bill you are calling about.
- Tell her/him what you want them to do.
- ALWAYS THANK THE LEGISLATOR for taking the time to speak with you.
Additional possibilities - generally not for last-minute calls:
- You can ask them what they think of the bill, or how they plan to vote on it - then LISTEN! (You may learn something, and politicians like everyone else like to be heard!).
- Ask what they need to make up their mind. You can offer to get them additional information.
- If you don't like their position, ask courteously what might persuade them to change their mind. If they ask you tough questions or bring up issues you are not prepared to address, say "I can't answer that one, but I will find out and get information to you." If you have such a conversation, try to contact the group or organization working on the legislation from your point of view so they know and can follow up.