Writing Effective Letters to State Legislators
Writing to your state legislators is an efficient and effective way of letting them know what you think about issues or bills. It can even be fun!
Below you will find a sample letter to a legislator. Use it as a guideline, but remember that a personal letter - one that tells your representative or senator how you feel about a particular issue - has great impact. An elected official usually counts one personal letter from a constituent as representative of many other voters!
Letter Writing Tips
- It is not necessary to type your letter. In fact, a handwritten letter has a tremendous impact. (As long as its legible!) Even a postcard is fine, as long as it's nott the pre-printed "form" card.
- Be brief and to the point. Try to limit your letter to one or two subjects. Include all bill titles and numbers whenever possible.
- Send your letter as soon as you hear about an issue or bill. If it comes up again later in the session, you can always write again or make a phone call.
- During the legislative session, send letters to the State Capitol building. During the interim, send letters tot he legislators' home addresses.
- Include your name, address, and date your letter....
Ms. Jane Q. Public
1 Main Street Anywhere, IA 55555
January 1, 1998
- Address the letter properly....
The Honorable ______________________________.
Iowa State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Re: House/Senate File #____________
Dear Representative/Senator __________________:
- Identify yourself....
I am a registered voter in your district. I am writing to you about House/Senate File #____________, which would ... (short synopsis of the bill).
- State your position....
I am strongly opposed to/in favor of this bill and ask you to vote against/for House/Senate File #_______________.
- State your interest....
If the bill passes/is defeated, it will affect me (or someone I know) by ... (short synopsis of the impact).
- Ask for a response....
Please let me know your position on House/Senate File #________.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
- Sign your name....
Sign Up for Action Alerts
Sign up today to receive urgent action alerts from the Iowa Citizen Action Network.
Find Your Legislative Districts
How to Lobby
As citizens and voters it's our job to hold our elected officials accountable. To be accountable, they must understand how we feel about the issues that affect our lives and that we care about deeply. By getting involved in the political process, we can work to ensure accountability. ICAN provides the following Lobbying Tools so that ordinary citizens can get active and build accountability from the grassroots up.
Register To Vote
All Iowa phonebooks contain a voter registration form or you can get one at many state offices.
To register in person, visit your county auditor's office.
You may fill out online, then print and mail, this registration form on the Iowa Secretary of State's website. Completed voter registration forms should be returned to the county auditor's office in the county where you live.