Contacting your Legislators

Finding your legislators

You can find contact information for your representatives and senators at Common Cause.

Hope does nothing

“Hope is passive. Hope gives you permission to let someone else do the work.” Michael Moore said this recently: “We don’t need hope. We need action.”

Are you ready to take action on gun violence prevention legislation? Listed here are links to find your legislators, see their voting records and suggested methods to advocate for gun control legislation

Make your opinion know

Constituents drive gun related legislation. Opinions heard by legislators are their number one decision driver. Your representatives and senators want to get reelected. They want to hear from you.

Join a gun control group

By signing up for their newsletters, you’ll receive alerts of impending legislative action. Timing, of course, is crucial. When a vote in the legislature is approaching, a large and ongoing response from you and other concerned citizens is effective.

Concerned citizen groups coordinate calls at an opportune moment to inundate your legislator’s lines on an important issue. It’s quick and easy to pick up the phone, make the call, and have an impact.

Recommended means of communicating with your legislator

  1. Meet face to face is the best. Request a meeting at their office.
  2. Make a phone call, even off hours. See guidelines below.
  3. Write a personal letter or email. See guidelines below.
  4. Submit a form email supplied by a political action group. These, actually are the least effective means of communicating with elected officials. They are easy to submit, but for that reason, not very effective.

Whether writing or calling, here are some general guidelines

  • Be courteous and civil. Abrasive language achieves nothing.
  • Be specific. Refer to the subject of the bill as well as its number. Tell your legislator what action you would like him/her to take. State clearly whether you support or oppose the bill, and explain why.
  • Be brief.  Concise language is effective. Give one or two reasons why you are requesting the specific action.  Legislators, like most of us, are more receptive to brevity.
  • Personal involvement: If possible, tell a story of how the legislation will affect you.
  • Request an answer. Ask how they will vote on the bill. They may not know yet.
  • Give name and address. Your name and address are important so that the representative will know you’re from his/her district.
  • Send a thank you. A thank you note afterwards is much appreciated. It will likely be remembered the next time you make a request.

Phone calls

Many people are nervous calling their legislators for the first time. Don’t be. They expect constituent calls and want to hear from you. Besides, you won’t talk to the legislator. A member of the office staff will take the call and record your request. You can call off-hours. When the office staff returns in the morning, they will note the call.

Writing letters and personal emails

To make your letter as effective as possible, use the proper address and salutation. For letters to your state senator and representative, I suggest the following sample form:

The Honorable John Q. Smith
State House Room ***
City, State Zip

Dear Representative (or Senator) Smith:

As your voting constituent, I urge you to support bill XX XXX to……

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration on this matter.

Best Regards,

Your Name
Your Address