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Faculty Senate » How to Write to an Elected Official

Handbook

How to Write to an Elected Official

Keep your letter to a single page. If you must exceed one page, make the second page an attachment which elaborates on your one-page summary. Be absolutely sure you spell the legislator's name correctly and have the right address. If you don't, you may have lost your audience.

If you're writing to several legislators on the same subject, don't send copies of the same letter. Individualize them, and use your own words. Form letters just don't have the same impact as a personal note; consider your own reaction to "junk mail." Don't use mailing labels.

Clearly identify the issue (or bill) you are writing about, and only discuss one issue or bill per letter. Give definite and concise reasons for your position. Be specific. A few facts and figures supporting your position will be more effective than just stating your opinion.

Explain the impact of the legislation or issue on you and other constituents. What needs are being met, or unmet? Provide facts.

Suggest, don't demand, a course of action. Don't promise rewards or offer threats, and don't knock the opposition. Legislators, like other humans, don't respond well to threats.

Be constructive. If you have expert knowledge or wide experience on the subject of your letter, let the legislator know of your expertise. Don't be condescending - be forthright and helpful. Ask, tactfully, for a response, and provide a return address. Express your appreciation - say thank you.

Oregon State Senators and House of Representatives - Up-to-date information, including Senator/ Representative, district, address, and phone number, can be found by accessing the following Web site:
Below are appropriate forms of address and salutation:

For the Governor:
The Honorable (full name)
Governor, State of Oregon
254 State Capitol
Salem OR 97310

Dear Governor (last name)
For a Senator:
The Honorable (full name)
State Senator
(if to President, use President of the Senate)
Home address if legislature not in session;
     if in session, State Capitol (room number)

Dear Senator (last name)
 
For a Representative:
The Honorable (full name)
State Representative (if to Speaker, use Speaker of the House)
Home address if legislature not in session; if in session,
State Capitol (room number)
Salem OR 97310

01/09