Each year on Capitol Hill we host many physicians, community stakeholders, health executives and families to discuss critical advocacy issues related to asthma or allergies. We know that you are busy and may not be able to take time out of your schedule to make actual in-person visits. You can still help by lending your virtual voice to our three primary issues that we’ll cover at our in-person meetings. Your participation will help give a voice to the more than 50 million people affected by asthma, allergies or related conditions. Simply follow the steps below to get started.
Step 2: Choose The Method of Communication That Works For You.
Letter writing allows you to fully explain your views and concerns to lawmakers. It is also the effective way to ask your state legislators to introduce, cosponsor, support or oppose specific legislation.
- Identify yourself as a constituent
This is essential because the primary duty of a legislative office is to represent the people who live in their district.
- State (and repeat) your position
Make your position and/or request clear in both your opening and closing paragraphs. State what action you want. Do you want the member to cosponsor a bill? Vote for a bill? If you want to know the member’s stand on an issue, ask about it specifically and request a response.
- Be brief and simple
- Keep your letter to one page
- Personalize your message
Persuasive constituent mail humanizes issues by placing them in a local, personal context. Use your own words and personal perspective.
- Be polite and avoid ultimatums
- Do not enclose additional materials
- Do not exaggerate or lie
- Be persistent
You may have to ask more than once before the office is able to respond to your request. Click here for a sample letter.
In situations where speed is important, email is an acceptable means of communication with your legislator. Every office accepts some form of electronic messages whether by email or online forms. Use the same concise writing style in the body of an email message as in a letter.
- Put your name and address at the top of the message
The first thing the office will do is determine if you live in his or her legislative district. Legislators and their staff do not have any obligation and little time to read messages from people who are not their constituents so it is vital that you make clear that you live in the area they represent. Your name and address should be flush left with no formatting.
- Humanize your message
- Proofread your message
Another effective way of communicating with legislators is through telephone conversations. While it is unlikely that you will speak with the legislator directly, staff will generally welcome reasonable phone calls from constituents. Strategically, any phone calls that come into the legislative office are likely to be tallied. Staff will probably not have time to take down a personal story.
- Identify yourself as a constituent
- Clearly state your position
Refer to the bill by its official number (e.g., “I would like Senator Jones to vote in support of S. 7”). Give concise reasons for your support or opposition of the issue.
- Request a response
This lets the office know that you are serious about your request and just might be watching when the vote is taken.
- Be brief
Do not take more than a minute on the phone unless you have previously established a relationship with the staffer. Your phone message is likely to get translated into a tally mark no matter what you say. If you find that the nature of a phone call precludes you from relating an important argument or story, write and send a detailed letter.