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Keep it brief

  • Strive to keep your letter close to a single page addressing one issue or bill. If you are referring to bills, do so by number, title, and sponsor.
  • Avoid putting in additional information that may distract the reader. Follow your introduction with a brief statement of your issue and explanation of why it is important.
  • When calling, practice or write down what you plan to say. This may prevent getting off topic or feeling nervous.

Identify yourself

  • Describe what brings you to this issue and/or the organization you are a part of. Emphasize how their decision impacts you. Include pictures or articles that cover your story.
  • Use your knowledge and experience to educate. Avoid using opinionated statements as facts.
  • Research your representative to help make a connection. Investigate their area, previous sponsored bills, or committee participation.
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Allow for follow-up

  • Include specific contact information for yourself and offer to act as a resource should questions or information be needed.
  • Request a time to meet in person to discuss the issue further and hear more about the process and legislator's views.
  • If you have called and have not received a reply in a week, perhaps follow up with an email or letter.

Be thorough

  • Re-read your letter looking for grammatical and spelling errors. Ask another person to read over it or read it aloud.
  • Ensure your letter is addressed correctly to the appropriate Senator or Representative.
  • Avoid using informal, slang, or abbreviated language. Instead of criticizing or making demands for change, ask for the legislator's views and their support, indicate likely effects, and suggest an alternative approach.
writing or calling
advocacy

Example Letter

Dear Representative/Senator (last name):

The legislation addressing (describe issue concisely, or use exact name of bill before legislature) is of paramount interest to me because I am a (survivor, parent, professional, etc.) This issue directly impacts (myself, my profession, my family, my child, etc.)

I am primarily concerned about (describe major specific concern within the larger issue) because (state reasons or examples briefly, with only as many relevant details as necessary to make your point clearly.) Other aspects of this same issue that affect (my life, profession, child) are (describe briefly any secondary concerns and supporting situations, reasons, examples, etc.)

Although I have read reports of your position in the newspapers, I realize this may not fully represent your viewpoint. Therefore, I will look forward to your reply expressing your opinions, and your current stance on the issue.

Thank you for your consideration of my viewpoint on this matter. I believe it is an important issue, and would like to see the legislation (pass, fail, or be amended) to ensure effective services for the individuals with brain injury and those involved.

Sincerely,

Your name,
Address
Phone Number
Email
Address

Addressed to:

Senator

The Honorable (full name)
US Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Representative

The Honorable (full name)
US House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510

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