How to Write to Your Legislator

The following tips will help sharpen the impact of your letters

If your legislator provides you with helpful information or services, of if she/he votes as you asked, it is a good idea to follow up with a letter of thanks. Letters of thanks are a rarity and you will probably be remembered for it!

When possible, if you write to a legislator who is not your own (i.e. a committee chairperson), send a copy of the correspondence to your own legislator. Indicate clearly at the bottom of the page that you have sent a copy to your legislator.

Correct forms of title and mailing address:

The Governor: His Excellency the Governor, The Capitol Buidling, Tallahassee, FL 32301

Dear Governor____________:

State Senators: Senator________, (#)____ Senate Office Building, Tallahassee, FL 32301

Dear Senator_____________:

State Representatives: The Honorable__________, (#)____ House Office Building, Tallahassee, FL 32301

Dear Representative__________:

How to Visit Your Legislator

The best way to communicate with your legislator is to visit him/her.

If you believe your legislator could be more supportive if he/she heard from more constituents, channel your energies into mobilizing others.

How to Lobby Your Legislator

Some questions you need to ask yourself before you begin...

Some of the realities of the state legislative process

This is not a rational process. Disappointment is the first experience. But you must not let this dissuade you. Most legislators are honest, but come with very little understanding of the needs of the public. Trust them until you learn they can't be trusted.

The role of the State Legislature is strengthening in this country and with the federal-state relations and revenue sharing as well as with Title XX and other federal funds the relationship of the budgeting process from state agencies and governors must be clearly identified every step of the way and worked with.

You must ask yourself:

How to work effectively with a legislator in face to face situations

Time, research and expertise must be put together to give the legislators appropriate, sound material and the reasons for your proposals

Legislative action at the local, state or national level should evolve from a set of social policy goals. The skills necessary to achieve those goals include:

This information is from: Budd Bell and William G. Bell, "Lobbying as Advocacy," in Bernard Ross and S.K. Khinduka (eds.) Social Work in Practice, Washington, D.C., National Association of Social Workers, 1976