Sharing Your Expertise: How to Communicate With Your Legislators 

Constituents have several options for communicating with their legislative representatives. Phone calls, letters, and emails are an excellent way to let your representatives know your opinions on issues of concern.

Generally, the most effective means of communication is through a written letter. To ensure you obtain the attention of your representative to your issue of concern, there are several tips that help construct your letter.

  1. State your purpose clearly and succinctly in the first paragraph of the letter.
  2. If your issue pertains to a specific piece of pending legislation, be certain to include the number of the bill. (for example; House Bill: H.B.____Senate Bill: SB____.) [See reference on how APA format for citing a bill] 
  3. Ask for a specific action; include key information, using concrete examples OR RATIONALE to support your position.
  4. Give a reason for your request, (ea. explain how your request will affect your practice, the healthcare of your patients, etc.)
  5. Address only one issue per letter, and if possible, keep the letter to one page.
  6. If the representative has been supportive of issues in the past, recognize them for their support and efforts.
  7. Put your name and address at the end of the letter AND on the envelope.
  8. Be courteous!

Find your Federal, State and local legislators

 

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)
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515 

Dear Representative (Last Name):


Note
: When writing to the Chair of a Committee or the Speaker of the House, it is proper to address them as:
Dear Mr. Chairman or Madam Chairwoman, or Dear Mr. Speaker.

New Members of Congress:
When writing to a recently elected member of Congress who has not been sworn in yet, it is proper to address them as:

To a Senator:
The Honorable (Full Name)
Senator-elect
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510 

Dear Mr. /Mrs. /Ms. (Last Name):     

To a Representative:
The Honorable (Full name)|
Representative-elect
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. /Mrs. /Ms. (Last Name):


Cite these legislation identifiers when writing to members of Congress:

House Bills: "H.R
House Resolutions: "H.RES._____
House Joint Resolutions: "H.J.RES._____"
Senate Bills: "S._____
Senate Resolutions: "S.RES._____
Senate Joint Resolutions: "S.J.RES._____" 

Sources: Mason, D.J., Gardner, F.H., Outlaw, F.H. & O’Grady E.T. (2016). Policy and politics in nursing and health care. St. Louis: Elsevier, Inc.

Sample Letters

Email Tips

  1. To access the email addresses, visit the individual member’s web page (house.gov or www.senate.gov).
  2. Many Congressional offices provide a generic acknowledgment that your email has been received but may follow-up with either a letter via the US Postal service or by email.
  3. It is best to contact your member’s office to learn about their policies about constituent correspondence.
  4. You can call the Capitol Switch board at 202-224-3121 and ask for a transfer to your specific member’s office.