Tips for Contacting Your Legislators
Get involved. Write a letter, send an email or make a phone call. Legislators always like to hear from their constituents. Through direct contact with them you can initiate change and influence their decisions as they relate to you and your profession. Your vote and your voice can make a difference.
When writing your legislator, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- The best way to get a legislators' attention is a short, succinct yet thorough letter.
- Be polite and remember legislators may disagree with you. However, they will be more receptive to your thoughts if you are polite.
- Be brief and to the point. Try to reference a specific bill number in your correspondence (e.g., Senate File XXX or House File XXX).
- Identify the issue at the beginning of your letter.
- Be informed on the issue. Before writing or calling, have a thorough understanding of the issue. If calling, be prepared to discuss the pros and cons of an issue. Legislators appreciate hearing both sides of the issue. Learn more about the MNCPA legislative agenda.
- Clearly ask for legislators' support of your position and give specific examples of how the legislation might affect you, your business or your clients.
- Remember you are the expert. Identify yourself and provide the background for your expertise.
- If you are a constituent, clearly state that in the opening of your letter.
- If you want a reply, specifically ask for one in the closing.
- Start building relationships with legislators before you need them.
- Use a form letter. Use your own words. Legislators are much more likely to respond to a personal letter than a form letter.
- Send a copy of your letter to other legislators. Write a personal letter to each.
- Be rude or threatening. You might not agree with them, but courtesy goes a long way when expressing your views.
- Apologize for your position or for writing. Legislators like to make informed decisions. If your correspondence is informative and accurate, they will appreciate it.
- Address state legislators as "Congressman". An incorrect salutation can impact the response you receive.
How to address letters
For all Senators:
The Honorable [Senator's name]
Room [office number], Senate Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
For all Representatives:
The Honorable [Representative's name]
Room [office number], State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155