Include your name and address on both the letter and the envelope. Dear (Member of the Assembly/Senator) In your conversation, be pleasant and informed. State the goal of the letter in the first sentence, and if you're referring to a bill, mention the bill number, author, and topic. If you want to contact someone specifically, such as an agency director, include his or her title and address also.
If you send multiple copies of the same letter to different people, put each person's address on a separate piece of paper and insert them into the letter after you've written it. This will help those people who may not be familiar with you to know which office holders to contact for issues specific to them.
It is acceptable to use form letters for addressing members of the legislature. These can be found online or through their website. There should be clear instructions on how to address concerns about specific bills or issues to specific members of Congress or legislators. For example, if you have concerns about HR 2484, specify which committee member(s) you would like to write to by including their names in the letter.
Letters are usually addressed to members of congress, but senators must be given personal attention. If there is no one responsible for writing letters to lawmakers, then agencies or organizations may hire someone to do this work for them. Agencies that do not directly communicate with constituents may have staff members that handle these tasks.
Correspondence When addressing a letter to a lawmaker, use "The Honorable," followed by the representative's complete name and business address. In both letters and emails, use "Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms." followed by the representative's last name as the salutation. If necessary, include the district or state where the representative resides.
In addition to their federal office, some lawmakers have a staff that assists them with their duties. The staff is referred to as "Congressman/Representative Smith's Office." You should address all correspondence to the person who holds this title.
If you need to get in touch with a staffer but don't know which one, try contacting the office of the majority leader or minority leader. These leaders work with members of the House of Representatives to determine how they will vote on issues before them. They are also responsible for scheduling hearings and voting on motions to suspend the rules.
Finally, if you want to send a message to all members of Congress, use the "Legislative Branch" address listed below. This address is for informational purposes only; it is not used for personal communication.
Address for Legislative Branch: Capitol Building, Room 7500 (C-SPAN), Washington, DC 20024.
Personal messages should be sent to the member's office as soon as possible after the event has occurred.
Points to Consider When Writing a Letter to the Government
In the email subject line or the first phrase of the message, state your subject clearly. Keep the letter to a single topic. Declare your status as a constituent. State your position, back it up with expert information, and, when applicable, reference the relevant legislation's bill number (e.g., H.R. 1123). Be sure to sign your letter.
1. Determine the best way to reach your elected representative. Is it by email? Postage mail? Phone call? In-person visit? The method you choose will depend on your relationship with your legislator and what kind of response you want from them. For example, if you want to simply let someone know that you support their cause or idea, an email is perfect because it can be short and to the point. If you want to present them with data that supports your argument, use postal mail. If you want to find out how they feel about certain issues before writing to them, go see them in person. There are many ways to get in touch with your representatives, so think about what kind of response you want from them and then choose one method.
A letter's fundamental structure
Use "Dear Representative Doe" or "Dear Senator Doe" for the salutation. If the envelope is for a social invitation to a female senator and her spouse, it should be addressed to: The Honorable Jane Doe and Mr. John Doe. In the case of a male senator and his wife, address the envelope as follows: The Honorable John Doe and Mrs. Jane Doe.
If the representative's or senator's office does not handle letters, then it will be sent to Washington, D.C. For example, if the representative's office is on Capitol Hill but he has an office in a different state, they will mail the letter to that office. Sometimes these letters are referred to as "Congressman/woman" letters because they are usually written to politicians' offices in Washington, D.C. rather than to the individuals themselves.
In addition to representatives' and senators' offices, other political figures include governors, mayors, and committee chairmen. Each of them has their own protocol for receiving invitations; for example, a mayor would be given full recognition by being called "Mr. Mayor" or "Mrs. Mayor" followed by the city name. It is also appropriate to note any hospitality offered to you during your visit. For example, if you are invited to attend a reception at a governor's mansion, it would be appropriate to mention in your letter that you appreciate such honors being done in your absence.
Use the appropriate greeting. Depending on the office held, the salutation should be "Dear Representative Smith," "Dear Senator Smith," or "Dear Assemblyman Smith." The address should be written as follows: Honorable Jim Smith, Address, City, State, Zip. If your letter is from a group of people with similar addresses, use the group mailing rate provided by the post office.
Include your name, address, and telephone number on any attachments. Also include the word "Personal" on all letters to protect against future collection efforts.
Letters to federal officials are different than letters to state representatives. See our article on writing letters to the president for more information.