Contacting Congress - writing a letter or fax
- A personal letter will get more attention than a form letter or pre-printed postcard.
- Make sure you include your name and address. Some offices will not open a letter if it is not from his/her state.
- Fax the letter to your member’s office. Mail takes a long time to arrive because of security concerns with mail sent through the postal service.
Your letter should be simple and direct
- If possible, limit your letter to one page.
- State the purpose of your letter in the first paragraph, identifying a specific bill number, if applicable.
- Focus on one particular issue and request specific action from the legislator.
- Explain how the issue will affect your local community.
Letters should be addressed as follows:
To a Senator or Representative
The Honorable (Full Name)
United States Senate (or House of Representatives)
(Room Number; Building Name)
Washington, DC 20510 (or 20515 for House of Representatives)
Dear Senator or Representative (Last Name):
- In person – in person meetings are highly effective.
- Telephone calls – Phone calls are very effective because they provide an opportunity to talk directly to the staff, which reinforces your relationship with the office.
- Email – Email is particularly effective if you communicate directly through a staff’s individual email address, or if you are mobilizing a large number of people through the legislator’s website.
- Fax – Faxed letters are very effective as they are likely to be given to the legislative staff immediately. Old school but still considered effective.
- Letter writing – Use letters primarily to accompany information packets, articles, etc., because postal mail arrives very slowly to Capitol Hill offices.