Citizen Advocacy Toolkit: Writing a Letter to an Elected Official

Writing a letter to your elected official is one of the easiest ways to convey your thoughts and concerns on land use issues. When elected officials receive numerous letters on a specific issue it influences their votes. Here are some tips on how to write an effective letter to an elected official.

  • First, find out your legislator's name and contact information at this website.
  • Use your own stationery or card. Make sure you write neatly or type the letter.
  • Identify yourself. If you have met your elected official before, briefly note the time and place to help jog their memory.
  • Write your own thoughts and words. Form letters or preprinted postcards are not as impressive as an original letter. Write about a personal experience and how the issue affects you.
  • Make your position clear. State your position clearly and precisely. Avoid being hostile.
  • Address elected officials properly. (i.e. “The Honorable ______” or “Senator ______”)
  • Be specific. If appropriate, cite a specific bill number and name, list its sponsors, and include a brief summary of the contents of the bill.
  • Request action. Ask the elected official to vote for a particular bill or amendment, request a hearing, co-sponsor a bill or talk with their colleagues about the issue.
  • Ask for a reply containing the legislator’s position on the issue. Include your return address or the best way to get a hold of you.
  • Follow-up. If you asked for a reply and did not receive one, write another letter. Send a thank you note if the legislator showed that they considered your position or did what you asked.

1000 Friends of Oregon Citizen Advocacy Toolkit

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