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Get Involved Contact Your Representative

Tips for Writing Your Representatives

A personal, signed letter to your legislator remains an effective way of communicating your views. Although congressional leaders receive thousands of letters per week, they pay very close attention to constituent mail. (Click here to identify your elected offcials.) The following pointers should make your letters more effective:

Proper Address

To a U.S. Senator:
The Honorable (Senator's Full Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

To a U.S. Representative:
The Honorable (Represenative's Full Name)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

To a State Senator:
The Honorable (Senator's Full Name)
Texas Senate
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711

To a State Representative:
The Honorable (Representative's Full Name)
Texas House of Representatives
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, Texas 78768-2910

Proper Salutation
The suggested greeting to use is "Dear Congressman/woman " ("Dear Representative" for state legislators) or "Dear Senator". If you are writing to a chairperson of a particular committee, address him/her as "Chairman" or "Madam Chair".

Date Your Letter
A date adds a sense of immediacy to any communication. A specific date for an anticipated response further demonstrates that your request is earnest.

Identify Yourself
In the first paragraph, identify who you are, your business and your affiliation with any relevant organizations, such as a member of BikeTexas.

Identify the Issue
In the first paragraph, identify your issue. BikeTexas can provide you with information on specific bills and issues that affect Texas cyclists. Be sure to identify the bill by name and number if you are writing in reference to a specific bill.

Remain Professional
A polite, friendly critique will always be more effective than a rude and insulting attack. The goal is to establish a relationship with your legislators and then work towards achieving a specific goal by presenting potential solutions.

Support Your Case
Concisely state reasons in support of your position. Cite facts and include any applicable personal anecdotes.

Specify Request
Make a specific request (e.g., "Please support H.R. 123.")

Signature
Sign your name. This makes a typewritten letter even more personal.

More Information

  • To the point: Ideally, your letter should be one type-written page, two at the most. Therefore, you need to be concise and direct.
  • Follow up with the Washington or local congressional office. (If you wish to follow up by telephone, ask to speak to the legislative assistant who handles the issue you wrote about).
  • Report to BikeTexas on your efforts and any response you receive from your representative or his/her staff.
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