Tips for Writing to Elected Officials
1. Use proper salutation. Refer to the elected official depending on the office held.
The Honorable Jane Doe
City, State Zip
Dear Senator/Assemblyman/Assemblywoman/Assemblymember Doe:
2. Be courteous and informative.
Introduce the purpose of the letter in your opening sentence. Since thousands of bills are introduced each year, it is critical that you refer to the issue by name (Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed $386 million cut to the California State University system in his 2008-09 budget released in January).
If you are a constituent of the elected official you are writing to, please be sure to indicate this in your opening line.
For example: I am a constituent of your district and writing to urge you to restore funds that the Governor’s proposed 2008-09 budget cuts from the California State University.
3. Focus on your message and key points.
Keep the letter brief and use common terms, not jargon. Legislators may not know your technical language, so use terms they will understand.
Explain the impact of the proposed CSU budget cuts on you, your family, community, and the state. To personalize the letter even more, you can add examples of how this budget action can potentially impact you and your family.
Stay on message and keep the letter brief. One page is best.
4. Wrap it up. Recap the purpose of your letter.
Restate what you request. For example: "Again, I urge you to restore funds to the California State University in next year’s state budget…"
When possible, thank the legislator for any support s/he has provided to your issues, group, etc.
Offer to address any concerns and be available for follow up. Provide your contact information.
Use your personal stationary or that of your business or practice. Sign the letter and send it off!