Know and Contact Your Legislators
State and federal legislators have a great impact on the future of EMU. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org your name and home address to learn who your legislators are so you can contact them to let them know your position on issues of importance to the state, higher education, and EMU.
How to Contact Your Legislators
Most legislators have e-mail addresses, and some have websites that can be used to contact them. Here are some tips to ensure that your message will be heard.
- Send a real letter. Legislators understand that it takes more time to write a letter, sign it, put a stamp on it, etc., as opposed to simply sending an e-mail message. More effort on your part shows the legislator that you really care about the issues. Of course, if you don’t have time to prepare a letter, an e-mail message is better than no contact at all.
- Do not send or sign “form letters” (either via e-mail or on paper). Legislators know that pre-written “form” letters require little effort on the part of the sender, and thus a “form” letter is unlikely to receive the same attention as a letter or e-mail message customized by you.
- Address your letters/e-mails to “The Honorable,” followed by the legislator’s full name (i.e., “The Honorable John Smith”), followed by the mailing address on separate lines. The salutation should be “Dear Representative Smith,” “Dear Senator Smith,” etc.
- Be brief, specific, and respectful. Tell the legislator in your first sentence the reason you’re writing (“I’m writing to encourage you to vote in favor of…”). Your message should be personal, but also professional. Do not express anger or sarcasm. And keep your letter short (one written page).
- Reveal who you are. Tell your legislator that you are a constituent in his/her district, that you vote, and that you are an EMU alumnus.
- Cite facts and use examples. Your opinion will carry greater weight if you cite facts or personal examples to support your position.
- Acknowledge challenges. Legislators hear from many constituents who advocate differing opinions, particularly on how to spend scarce government resources. It is helpful for you to acknowledge these challenges so the legislators know that you are informed and that you realize the complexity of their responsibilities.
- Include your contact information. Include your home address, e-mail address, and phone number.
- End your letter with thanks. Always thank your legislators for taking the time to read your letter and consider your thoughts.
- Do not include bulky items in your envelope. Unfortunately, in today’s world, even something like a lapel pin enclosed in an envelope can raise suspicion because the recipient will not know what is inside the envelope. Mail your letter in a regular envelope, and include your return address on the outside of the envelope.
Please contact our office if you have questions about this process. We would be happy to talk to you about effective ways of reaching out to your legislators.