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Contact Congress

Ways of getting in touch with elected officials:


An email is an excellent way to communicate with your elected official. Due to the high volume of emails that representatives and senators receive, it may take a few days for a staff member to actually read your email. To make your letter as effective as possible, keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep your email concise and focused. Address only one issue, and state it early, beginning with it if possible, and don’t let the email get too long. Finally, be sure to identify the legislation you are writing about (if applicable) with the correct number (House Bill: H.R.____ or Senate Bill S.____)
  • Create a human connection between them and your issue: use personal examples to illustrate the significance of the issue in your district and the effects it will have on your business and your community
  • Be clear that you are a constituent. Your letter may be ignored if you are not from the official’s home district
  • Be positive: Thank the legislator if he or she has supported your cause in the past

How to address an email to an elected official

Dear Senator (Last Name):

Dear Representative (Last Name):

Please note that if the legislator you are writing to is a committee chair or the speaker of the house, address them as such: Dear Mr. Chairman/Madame Chairwoman or Dear Mr. Speaker/Madame Speaker.


Phone calls are another good way of getting in touch with an elected official. The immediacy of a phone call makes it useful for influencing and informing a legislator within the last few days before an important vote. Some advice for calling an official’s office:

  • Keep in mind that staff members will almost always take your call, not the legislator. Therefore, you should learn which staff member handles your issue and ask to speak with that person
  • Identify yourself by name and as a constituent. Anonymous calls may be disregarded and the legislator will be much less concerned (if at all) with the views of someone he or she does not represent
  • Leave a brief, to-the-point, message for the legislator telling him or her why you are calling and identifying the bill by the correct number (see email section)
  • Feel free to ask for the elected official’s position on the issue and ask for a written response to the phone call. You may be asked to provide your email or street address

Personal visits

Meeting in person with a legislator is a more memorable way of informing an official directly about your concerns. It allows for a more fluid exchange of information: both sides can ask questions and get answers immediately. Here are some suggestions to consider before you schedule a meeting with your representative or senator:

  • Stick to one issue. Make the most of your time with the official or staff member by educating them as much as you can about the industry and your issues
  • Be flexible and patient. Elected officials are busy and your meeting may be shortened and you may have to wait longer than you expected. You should, however, still arrive promptly for your scheduled time. Also, be willing to speak with a staff member rather than the official him or herself
  • Confirm your appointment the day of the meeting. Make sure your legislator’s schedule has not changed abruptly
  • Thank the legislator for supporting your cause if he or she has in the past. If the official has not been supportive in the past, simply thank him or her for taking the time to meet with you
  • Provide information on paper. Bring info packages and business cards. Not only will this help the elected official get in touch with you later, but it may also remind him or her of your concern for the issue

Finally, prepare for questions. Try to anticipate what the official may ask you. Be honest if you do not know the answer. Misinformation will weaken your credibility. Instead of providing a half-truth or worse, offer to conduct further research and bring the new information to the official when you have it.