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How to contact your representative

Contacting your representative at the state or federal level is one of the most effective ways to influence policy. Letters to elected officials serve as barometers of what their districts are thinking. Each letter is presumed to represent thousands of other constituents who did not write. The best part is that it’s easy to do, and hard to do wrong. Here are the basics:
  1. Don’t worry too much about the perfect wording. The elected representative rarely reads letters herself. Instead, a staffer makes a tick-mark on a pro-con tally sheet for the given subject.For that reason, sending any letter is infinitely more important than sending the perfect letter. Just write it!
  2. Keep it short. State your opinion, why you hold it, and what you expect of your representative.
  3. Be yourself. Don’t use a form letter, or something you copied and pasted from online. A one-paragraph letter of honest opinion from you is worth more to your representative than an eloquent letter they receiveĀ  a hundred times with different names attached.
  4. Send it on paper. Politicians know how easy it is to shoot off a form email. So go ahead and email, but send a paper letter, too.
  5. Call their offices, too. Again, short and polite is the way to go: “Hello? This is John Smith, and I live in Chaska. I’m calling to let Congressman Kline that I strongly oppose any legislation to further restrict the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”At this point the staffer will probably get your name and address to send you a form letter that thanks you for the contact. Give it to them.
There. That’s it. If you and a couple dozen people do that, you’ve just convinced them that this is a hot button issue in their district. Find your state legislators Find your congressional representative Find your U.S. Senators
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