Writing a Letter to an Elected Official

Find out who your legislator is: http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/

Writing a letter to your elected official is one of the easiest ways to convey your thoughts and concerns on a land use issue. Writing a letter does make a difference because when an elected official receives numerous letters on a specific issue, it influences their vote. Here are some tips on how to write an effective letter to an elected official.

Use your own stationary. A neatly typed letter on your own stationary is the best presentation.

Write your own thoughts and words. Form letters or preprinted postcards are not as impressive as your own original letter. Write about a personal experience and how the issue affects you.

Be clear on your position. State your position clearly by showing your knowledge, but in a precise way. Avoid being hostile.

Identify yourself. If you have met the elected official before, briefly note the time and place to help jog their memory.

Address elected officials properly. (i.e. “The Honorable ______” or “Senator ______”)

Mention specific legislation. If appropriate, cite a specific bill number and name, and list its sponsors. You may want to include a brief summary of the bill, as well.

Request specific action. State exactly what you want the elected official to do. Also, if appropriate, ask the elected official to vote for a particular bill or amendment, request a hearing, or co-sponsor a bill.

Ask for a reply if you ask a question or request something, like asking the legislator to state his or her position on the issue.

Include a return address, especially if you asked for a reply.

Follow up if you asked for a reply and did not receive one. If you did receive a reply, send a thank you note.