Week 8 | Contact Legislator

 

ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE TASKS YOU CAN DO IS TO REGULARLY GET INVOLVED WITH POLITICS. THE SIMPLEST WAY TO GET INVOLVED IS TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT BILLS ARE BEING DISCUSSED AND CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS. TODAY, YOU’LL GET A CHANCE TO PRACTICE WRITING THESE LETTERS/MESSAGES. EVERYONE IN MO HAS THE SAME TWO SENATORS; THEIR CONTACT INFORMATION IS BELOW. TO FIND YOUR U.S. HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE OR YOUR MISSOURI LEGISLATOR, YOU WILL HAVE TO USE THE PROVIDED LINKS.

If you are not from Missouri, you should be able to find your legislators’ contact information at  or your instructor can help you. If you are not from the U.S, you can find the information for your home country’s representatives and contact them, or contact a representative from here if you prefer. Your instructor can help you craft your letter.

Note: You do not have to actually send your letter, but it’s encouraged. If you do not wish to submit your letter to your instructor, you can send in the letter and screenshot the confirmation of submission. Make sure you include the legislator’s name in the screenshot for verification purposes. Upload the confirmation.

Correspondence with your representative is most effective when it’s specific, especially if it pertains to a current or upcoming bill. Below are links to the databases of bills being discussed in the state and federal legislatures. Suggested search terms are given. If you do not want to find a specific bill to discuss that’s fine; you can speak about a general topic of concern (e.g. climate change, reducing subsidies for fossil fuels, etc.). For this assignment, you should be contacting your legislator over an environmental or sustainability topic, but I hope you continue to use this knowledge to communicate with your legislators over a variety of topics in the future.

Bills indicated with (passed) means the bill has successfully moved on, but you may choose to address your legislator’s vote (e.g. thank you for voting to support this bill).

You should read the bill text or a summary before writing your letter. Bill names can be deceiving, and you need to know what you are supporting/opposing.

. (for your Missouri Legislator)

 (for your Missouri Legislator)

 (for Schmitt [MO], Hawley [MO], and your U.S. House Representative)

Suggested search terms: electric, wind, solar, coal, natural gas, oil, plastic, food, farm, agriculture

Below you will find a letter outline for contacting your state or federal legislator. Your letter does not have to be long to be effective. If you choose to send your final product, you will likely be using email or a contact form. You can choose how formal you want to be.

FYI, phone calls are quicker and possibly more effective than electronic correspondence. Digital correspondence is more likely to get a reply, however. Also, if later on in life, you sign pre-made letters to your legislators, they are likely to be overlooked if they are the exact same as everyone else. Instead, reword the information or include your personal thoughts.

In the future, you may want to download and register for the Causes app. Messages via the Causes app are less formal, and they are also commonly public. Be conscientious of what you post on Causes. As far as I know, Causes only follows federal legislation.

Sample Letter

The Honorable (full name of legislator)
Congressional Branch (U.S. Senator / Missouri House of Representatives)
Location (Washington, D.C. 20515 / Jefferson City, MO, 65101)

Dear Representative/Senator (last name):

Your first paragraph should list who you are (e.g. I am a constituent of yours OR I currently live in your jurisdiction.) If you voted for them, include that; they will want to keep you voting for them. If you didn’t vote for them, just leave that out. You should also introduce what topic or bill you are writing about.

Your second paragraph should discuss WHY you support/oppose this legislation. Why is this topic important to you? If possible, provide a statistic or fact concerning the topic. This paragraph doesn’t have to be long, but it should be convincing.

Finally, mention what you hope your legislator does with this topic. Do you want them to vote YES/NO on a bill? Are you thanking them for how they voted on past bills? Do you want them to write back expressing their views on this subject? What is the goal of this letter?

Thank you for your time,
(Your full name)
(Your city and zip code)

Week 8 | Contact Legislator

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