Letters are an important, even critical, way to influence legislation. Letters to the writer’s own state and federal Senators or Representatives are especially important. Alternatively, state legislators have email addresses where you can send your thoughts.
- Make clear your position, and exactly what you want your legislator to do.
- Write in your own words and include your own thoughts. Tell how the legislation will affect you and others like you.
- Show as much knowledge as you can, but don’t worry if you’re not an expert: your personal experience is the best evidence.
- Avoid sending form letters, but if you send one, be sure to personalize it with a hand-written note.
- Don’t threaten, browbeat, or get nasty.
- Write briefly, on one subject at a time, and refer to bills by name and number.
- Don’t try to become a pen pal; if you write too often you become a nuisance.
- If you ask a question and don’t get a reply, follow up with another letter asking clearly for a response.
- When a legislator votes as you asked, send a thank-you note.
Effective Letters or Emails Include
- Who you are: I am a voter in your district, and I belong to the 350-member Association of Pizza-Eating Voters...
- What you want done: We are writing to ask your support of House Bill 1234 when it comes before your Committee...
- What the bill does for the District: This bill would require all local public feeding programs – e.g., school lunch, senior citizen – to serve pizza three times a week.
- Who supports it in the District: This bill is supported by a broad coalition of pizza makers, tomato growers, sausage producer, etc. in your District...
- What you want done again, in slightly different words: Please make this possible, by voting for HB 1234 in Committee and again later on the House Floor…
- Your name, address, and telephone number: Please feel free to contact us; we would be happy to answer any questions or be of other assistance in this matter.
During the legislative session, letters to state legislators should be sent directly to the state Capitol, and may be addressed:
Senator (or Representative) NAME
Colorado State Capitol
200 East Colfax
Denver, CO 80203
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