One way to exercise your rights as a United States citizen is to write to your elected representatives about issues that concern you. Such letters are most effective if they are direct, concise and respectful. Pick a single issue, clearly state your concern and briefly outline what your expectations are. To ensure the letters reach your state senator, use the correct titles, formats and mailing addresses on the letter and the mailing envelope.
Write Your Letter
Write in a clear, concise style, briefly outlining your issue. If you want a response to your letter, state that in your text. Be respectful and nonemotional in your writing. Stick to issues over which the senator has some influence, such as local taxes, infrastructure concerns or political policies. Do not waste your senator's time by writing about issues he cannot affect such as your neighbor's lousy lawn care, dogs barking in your neighborhood and why your local sports team doesn't win more often.
You can prepare your letter in either handwritten or typed form. If you chose to handwrite your letter, be sure you write legibly and neatly. If you type your letter on a computer or word processor, avoid using unusual fonts or colors. Do not write letters longer than one page.
Use your name and full address at the top as a letterhead or include it below the body of your letter. This is particularly important if you anticipate a response to your letter. State senators will not respond to mail from nonconstituents -- your address shows them you are from their district.
Do not use profanity. Do not make threats of any kind against your senator or any other public officials.
Correct Forms of Address
You can find the exact mailing address for your senators and representatives in the phone book's Blue Pages under "U.S. Government." Find the correct address for the state senators from your state. You can also find it on the Internet by searching for "elected officials" in your state.
Use the same address in the letter and on the mailing envelope: The Honorable Jane Doe State Senate Building (or P.O. Box 12345) City, State XXXXX-XXXX The salutation in your letter is "Dear Senator Doe" followed by a colon.
You can usually contact senators through their websites. In this case, the template will contain the appropriate address and salutation.
- Be sure to include your name and return address to increase your chances of receiving a response to your letter.
- Do not include any substances or items in your letter.
- Do not make threats against your senator or other public government figures; this will make you the recipient of intense scrutiny from U.S. security organizations and in some cases you will be subject to criminal prosecution.
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