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Environmental Science: A Global Concern, 7/e
William P. Cunningham, University of Minnesota
Mary Ann Cunningham, Vassar College
Barbara Woodworth Saigo, St. Cloud State University

Government Contacts

Here are some helpful links:

The Congressional Record

  • Offers general information about congress and the legislative process as well as specific information regarding congressional committees, calendars, and members and how to contact them.

E-mail addresses for Congress

  • Offers a variety of links to sites for identifying your congressional representatives as well as the information to contact them via mail, phone, electronic mail, or through their webpages.

How to Write to Your Elected Officials

1. Address your letter properly.

  1. Your representative:

    The Honorable
    House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    Dear Representative,

  2. Your senators:

    The Honorable
    Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    Dear Senator,

  3. The president:

    The President
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
    Washington, DC 20500
    Dear Mr. President,

2. Tell who you are and why you are interested in this subject. Be sure to give your return address.

3. Always be courteous and reasonable. You can disagree with a particular position, but be respectful in doing so. You will gain little by being hostile or abrasive.

4. Be brief. Keep letters to one page or less. Cover only one subject, and come to the point quickly. Trying to cover several issues confuses the subject and dilutes your impact.

5. Write in your own words. It is more important to be authentic than polished. Don't use form letters or stock phrases provided by others. Try to show how the issue affects the legislator's own district and constituents.

6. If you are writing about a specific bill, identify it by number (for instance, H.R. 321 or S. 123). You can get a free copy of any bill or committee report by writing to the House Document Room, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515 or the Senate Document Room, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510. Copies of bills are also available online from The Congressional Record.

7. Ask your legislator to vote a specific way, support a specific amendment, or take a specific action. Otherwise you will get a form response that says: "Thank you for your concern. Of course I support clean air, pure water . . . "

8. If you have expert knowledge or specific relevant experience, share it. But do not try to intimidate, threaten, or dazzle your representative. Legislators see through artifice and posturing; they are professionals in this field!

9. If possible, include some reference to the legislator's past action on this or related issues. Show that you are aware of his or her past record and are following the issue closely.

10. Follow up with a short note of thanks after a vote on an issue that you support. Show your appreciation by making campaign contributions or working for candidates who support issues important to you.

11. Try to meet your senators and representatives when they come home to campaign, or visit their office in Washington if you are able. If they know who you are personally, they are more likely to listen when you call or write.