public policy

5 Tips to Help Contact Your Elected Reps

Writing your elected officials is important because it allows you to explain how a particular issue affects you and to express your support or opposition to a proposed law, policy, or course of action. It provides accountability for the elected officials so that they know their constituents are aware of what they are doing and have a genuine interest in how they do their jobs. Here are five easy tips to help you contact your elected official.

(1) Be brief.

Elected officials are busy and get a lot of letters and emails. The best way to make sure your letter gets read is to keep it short and to the point. If at all possible, stick to one issue per letter.

(2) Be clear.

Identify yourself and any relevant organization with which you are affiliated. State whether they are your representative.

State your position up front and what you would like him or her to do; don’t make them guess what you are trying to say. letter_writingExplain what your understanding of the issue is.  If you are writing about pending legislation, be sure to include the bill or resolution number so they know to what you are referring.

Explain why the issue is important to you and how it will impact you, your family and friends, and your community. Support your position with facts as much as possible. Avoid “I believe” or “I feel” statements. If you are writing in opposition to legislation, offer an alternative course of action if possible.

(3) Be accurate.

Proofread your letter or email before you send it. Make sure you have their correct title and address, whether postal or email.  Include a way for them to write back or reply to you.

(4) Be timely.

The best times to contact your representatives are just before an election, just before an important vote, before or during a budget process, or immediately after the representative has done something you approve or disapprove of.

It does no good to send an email or letter after a vote has already taken place. Stay up-to-date on relevant legislation. The NCHLA has relevant Action Alerts as do local bishops conferences such as the Missouri Catholic Conference. Most also allow you to receive email notifications when action is needed, so sign up.

(5) Be grateful.

If at all possible, thank your representative for any past support in your letter.

Also, be sure to follow up, particularly if he or she takes the position you wanted. Regardless of whether your letter changed his or her mind, letters of appreciation go a long way in encouraging him or her to take a similar stance in the future.

Why We March

March for Life participants make their way up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building Jan. 25. The pro-life demonstration marks the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the nation. (CNS photo /Bob Roller) (Jan. 25, 2012) See MARCH-COLOR and MARCH-SPEECHES Jan. 25, 2013.

For the past 43 years, thousands of people have made the pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. on January 22 from across our nation to participate in the March for Life. People drive from two hours away and people ride buses for 14 hours. They will brave the elements to walk two miles from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Supreme Court. They will offer prayers. They will speak with our elected representatives.

Today will be no different.

Why?

We march because babies are dying of abortion every day. In the U.S., there are over 3,300 abortions performed each day on average. In comparison, there are approximately 44 homicides in the U.S. each day.

We march because we are missing our potential siblings, cousins, peers, teachers, coaches, and spouses. Abortion takes away a person who would have made a difference in someone’s life.

We march because we cannot pretend to be ignorant to what is happening in abortion facilities, including what has been revealed in the Center for Medical Progress videos.

We march because women are being hurt physically and emotionally from abortion.

We march because every human being is made in the image and likeness of God and has an inherent dignity from the moment of conception.

We march because abortion is not women’s health care.

We march because women deserve better than abortion….and so do men.

We march because we can change the hearts and minds of others in our country to respect all human life.

We march because we are the survivors of abortion. As survivors, we have an obligation to speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves.

We march because every person matters.

For live coverage of the Generation Life pilgrimage to the March for Life sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Louis, visit genlifestl365.com or follow @GenLifeStl on Twitter.