What’s the best way for me to express my opinion to my legislators?
What's the best way for me to express my opinion to my legislators?
It might surprise you that the most effective methods of contacting your elected officials are the same as they were 30 years ago, before faxing and email—phone calls, personal visits and “snail mail” letters. The time and thought that go into making a personal call or writing a letter, versus the minimal effort it takes to add your name to an online petition, gives this kind of correspondence much greater significance in the eyes of politicians.
In our Advocacy Alerts, we provide a space for you to contribute your own thoughts to our pre-written letters to encourage the personalization that your legislators want to see. When an issue is really important to you, send your own hand-written letters to the offices of your legislators, or better yet, call their offices and request a meeting. Remember, you put them in office—they work for you! If you are unable to set up a meeting, find out when your legislator will appear at a town hall meeting, or even a fundraiser, and go speak to him or her there.
Finally, it’s important to remember that in most cases, there’s nothing to gain by contacting legislators who do not represent you unless you have some sort of personal connection to them. A legislator’s purpose is to represent his or her constituents, not somebody else’s. Exceptions to this general rule do occur—and when they do, we’ll take special care to let you know. Otherwise, it’s best to focus your efforts on those whom you have the direct ability to elect, whether on the federal, state or local level.