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How to write to letters elected officials

Letters from constituents are very important to elected officials, but they get thousands of them every day. Here are some tips to help your letters get attention -- and action.

Difficulty Level: Average      Time Required: Varies

Here's How:
  1. Always be courteous and respectful, but avoid being "gushy" or overly flattering.
  2. Clearly and simply state the purpose of your letter. If it's about a certain bill, identify it correctly. [See Related Features for more details.]
  3. Identify yourself. Anonymous letters go nowhere. Even in email, include your correct name, address, phone number and email address. If you don't include at least your name and address, you will not get a response.
  4. State any professional credentials or personal experience you may have, especially those pertaining to the subject of your letter.
  5. Keep your letter short -- one page letters are best.
  6. Provide specific rather than general information about how the topic affects you and others.
  7. Be sure to address your letter correctly. [See Related Features for more details.]
  8. Use specific examples or evidence to support your position.
  9. Clearly state what it is you want done or recommend a course of action.
  10. Thanks the official for taking the time to read your letter.
  11. NEVER use vulgarity, profanity, or threats. Simply stated, don't let your passion get in the way of making your point.
  12. NEVER demand a response.
  1. When writing members of the U.S. Congress, it is usually best to write only to the Representatives and Senators from your district or state. Mass-mailings to all Members of Congress rarely have much impact.
  2. Each letter should address a single topic or issue.

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