Contact Your Representatives

When it comes to the American government, you are the boss. Those 535 members of Congress— even the president—are your employees. They should be working at your behest, and for your best interests. The problem is, many citizens don't know how to contact the workers they have sent to Washington to do their business. Here is a quick guide.

Find out how to contact your representatives by choosing your state from the drop-down box below:

When you write to your representatives, remember to be brief and clear in your letter. If you're contact them concerning a specific piece of legislation, mention it near the beginning. Identify your location so your representative knows that he or she represents you; your opinion matters to him or her.

Use facts and examples to support your position, especially if you have personal anecdotes that relate to the issue you are discussing.

Do not be afraid to recommend to them what you think is the best course of action. You can even imply (or state) that their vote and actions will decide if they can count on your support the next time they are up for reelection. Do not, however, make threats.

As passionately as you may feel, avoid using any coarse or vulgar language; if you would not say it to your grandmother, do not include it in the letter.

End by thanking your lawmakers for taking the time to read the letter. Making your voice heard in a polite yet impassioned way shows your representatives that you are a level-headed constituent.

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