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Contacting Your Senator
You do not simply have the right to contact your U.S. senators and
representatives, you have the responsibility. They need to hear from
you to know what is important to the people of the states they represent.
This is especially important since their work requires them to spend
much time away from the homes that they represent. Let them know what
is important to you and your community. There are a few different ways
in which you can contact your senators and representatives.
Visit in Person
It is possible to meet with a Congressman or his/her staff in person. If you feel that the point you must make would be more effective if you meet with your senator or representative in person, follow these tips:
More likely than not, you will end up speaking with a staff member
rather than the actual member of Congress. This is all right –
Congressmen do not have time to personally address every single person
who wishes to talk to them. When you call, ask to speak with the aide
who handles environmental policy (or whatever it is you have called
to comment upon).
If you do not know the exact number to call, call the U.S. Capitol
Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask for the office of the senator or
representative you would like to speak with.
Before calling, prepare a brief message – feel free to write
it down and read it when on the phone, just to make sure you say exactly
what you wish to. Tell the staff member with whom you speak to (for
example) “Please tell Senator ________ that I oppose¬¬¬
________ because ________."
To be sure that your important message has been heard, feel free to
ask for a written response to your telephone call.
Letters are popular forms of contacting members of Congress. They are
just as effective as calling, but less intimidating. To ensure that
your letter is effective as possible, follow these suggestions:
While letters are still the more excepted (and sometimes preferred)
form of contacting Congressmen, e-mails are becoming more popular. You
want to continue the same level of courteousness and brevity in an e-mail
as you would have in a letter. For the most part, they are the same.
If you are writing to your Congressmen about an environmental issue
that has to deal with waste, etc. using the Internet to send an electronic
letter may be more effective than sending a paper letter.
Be sure to include in your e-mail:
* * *
It does not matter how it is that you contact your representatives
or senators, just do it. And do not be afraid to tell them when they
are doing a good job, as well. For instance, if you find that your representative
pushed for better tax incentives for using solar power in businesses
and homes, be sure to let him or her know how such an action can really
benefit the people of your state and the United States.
Also, it is not just your representatives and senators that you can
and should contact. Contact other state and local leaders, as well.
Let them know what you and your neighbor’s think. Let them know
about pressing environmental issues – sometimes the best and most
effective actions are taken on a local level.