Writing to Legislators

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Even in this age of electronic communication, writing a personal letter is still one of the most effective ways to reach an elected official. Taking the time to write about an issue shows you care deeply about it.

1. Send your letter in time to affect your legislator's decision.

2. Make sure your letter is easy to read.

3. Use your own words to get your message across. Don't copy a form letter, or even parts of one. If you make the letter entirely your own, your thoughts and convictions will show your sincerity and concern. Remember, you are the expert on libraries. Share your experiences.

4. Sign your full name and address so the legislator or other government official can reply to you.

5. Make your position clear. Say exactly what it is you wish the government official to do. If possible, refer to the issue you're writing about by its official title (such as "Senate Bill 259"). It is best to write about only one proposed law (bill) or issue in each letter.

6. Give your own personal experience to support your request. Tell briefly how the issue will affect you, your family, your library, or your community.

7. Ask the official to state his/her position on the issue in a reply to you.

8. Address the government official correctly:

The Honorable (name of official)
State Senator (or, State Representative)
(or, Governor of Wisconsin)
State Capitol
Address
Madison, WI Zip Code

Your letter should begin:

Dear Governor (or Senator) (or Representative) (last name):
Appointed officials are also addressed as "The Honorable
____________",
with "Mr. or Ms." as the correct title.

For current address information for elected officials, check out the Wisconsin State Legislature website.

With thanks to Citizens for Missouri's Children

Listening Sessions