Legislative Letter Writing Tips

In state and national capitals, letters are the barometers that measure political interest. Letters are counted - they do count. But not just any letter is influential. As many people at the grassroots level have become more organized in their letter writing campaigns, legislators have become more savvy in distinguishing a drummed-up letter from an expression of personal concern. So, it is especially important that your letter be personal, thoughtful, specific and concise. Your letter should be written with the expectation that it will be read by someone of sensitivity and intelligence, but who may be slightly less informed than you are on your particular issue.

Here are some do's and don'ts to consider in writing a convincing letter.

DO spell your legislator's name correctly.

DO write as an individual.

DO write one page or less.

DO cover only one subject.

DO be as specific as possible.

DO make your letter timely.

DO ask the legislator to do something specific.

DO include your name and return address on the letter.

DO type letters if possible.

Don't write to a legislator from any other district except your own.

Don't write letters that demand or insist the legislator vote for or against a certain bill.

Don't write a legislator more than once on the same subject.

Don't write a chain or form letter.

Don't threaten the legislator with defeat at the next election.

Don't become a chronic letter writer.

Don't send carbon copies.

Virginia Alliance for Arts Education