How to Write a Powerful Letter to Congress

To increase the impact of your letters to Congressmen, write legibly or use a computer or typewriter, and include your name and address so your congressman can respond. Limit your letter to one page and address a single topic.

In general, letters should be three short paragraphs. The first paragraph should state that you support or oppose a position or piece of legislation. The second paragraph should explain, briefly, the reasons for your support or opposition. The third paragraph should ask the Congressman to write back explaining his position on the legislation. Avoid exaggeration and, when appropriate, document your position with an accompanying article or editorial.

State your view firmly, but avoid name-calling or making threats. Try to be reasonable, factual, and friendly. Even if you disagree with your? your Representatives on most issues, be sure to commend them if they have done something right. It will establish that you are fair and will encourage them to pay closer attention to subsequent complaints about their performance.

Whenever possible, refer to bills and resolutions by number. It will help your Congressman to determine exactly which measure you are interested in and will demonstrate that you know what you are talking about. Finally, time your letters to arrive at mid-week, rather than on Monday, when deliveries are heaviest, or on Friday, when the weekend rush hits.

It is a good idea to follow-up your Congressman's response, or lack thereof, with another brief letter – regardless of the position he takes. If the Congressman agrees with you, send a one or two sentence letter of thanks for his stand in favor of limited, Constitutional government. If the Congressman disagrees with your position, reply with a brief letter quoting the section of his letter with which you take issue and restate your position.

Elected officials listen most intently to letters from voters in their own districts, and hardly listen at all to voices from outside of their districts. In most cases, it is not worth the trouble to write to officials who do not represent your state and district. The majority of Congressional offices automatically forward non-constituent letters to the Congressional office representing the letter-writer.

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Your letters to members of Congress or to the President may be addressed this way:

The President

The President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:

A Senator

The Honorable ________
Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator _______:

A Representative

The Honorable ________
House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Mr. _______:

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Here is a sample letter I sent to my Congressman:

May 19, 2002

Honorable Cass Ballenger
2182 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Ballenger:

I believe we should sever all ties with the United Nations immediately.

The United States Bill of Rights unequivocally protects each American's natural rights from government interference whereas the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares a person has rights but such rights are subject “to such limitations as are determined by law.” Further, the United Nations declares some “rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”

Opponents of removing the United States from the UN argue such a move would equal isolation. However withdrawal from the UN would not mean a retreat into so-called “isolation” anymore than absence of the UN prior to 1945 meant that the United States was “isolated.” It ought to be obvious to any elected official, as it is surely obvious to this citizen, that withdrawal from the United Nations is essential if our nation is to remain sovereign.

Please let me have your assurance that you will work to get our nation out of the trap that the United Nations has become.

Sincerely,

Jake Morphonios


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