Keep letters to one page. Try to discuss only one bill or issue in a letter.
Begin with an introduction of yourself. Use a simple statement, such as "I am a third-grade teacher at _______ Elementary school".
Follow your introduction with a brief statement of your issue or concern, such as "We urge your oppose S.B. _____, which will ________." If you are writing in reference to a specific bill, include the bill number.
Follow your opening paragraph with a concise explanation of why you support or oppose the particular bill or issue. A few strong, well-thought-out arguments are much more effective than a laundry list of reasons to support or oppose a bill. Whenever possible, use bullet points to outline your arguments.
Help the legislator understand why your position is important to his or her constituents. Include specific facts about how a bill will impact educators, students or schools in the legislator's district. If possible, include a local anecdote illustrating the problem you are seeking to address. Avoid the use of form letters or generic postcards — use your own knowledge and experience to inform the legislator.
Include specific contact information and offer to act as a resource should the legislator or staff have questions or need additional information. Where appropriate, state in the letter that you will follow up with a telephone call.
Address your letter correctly
Dear Senator (last name): or
Dear Representative (last name):
Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!
As educators, it is critical that our correspondence represents our profession well. And it is always a good idea to have someone you trust proofread your letter before sending it.
E-mail can be an easy and effective tool for communicating with legislators. The tips outlined above for writing letters to legislators also apply to e-mails: keep them brief and to the point, with facts and anecdotes relevant to the legislator's district.
Avoid informal language — E-mail to a legislator should be treated as seriously as a written letter. Resist the temptation to use the informal language and symbols often associated with e-mail communications. Never use impolite language or make "demands."
Include your full address and zip code — Make sure the text of your e-mail includes your full name and street address, including zip code. Many legislative offices screen e-mails for address information identifying the sender as a constituent. E-mails that appear to come from outside the district are unlikely to be read and may be blocked by filtering programs.