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Writing Your Elected Officials

Elected officials want to be informed and responsive to their constituent's needs.  A well-written letter can provide valuable information and feedback that helps the official choose an informed position. Note that because of heightened security measures ground mail is not a good way to get a message to the President or to your member of Congress.  Do use the suggestions below to compose an email or fax for your elected officials.


To find contact information for all your elected officials (state and federal), visit the and websites. These websites include contact information and short biographies.  It's always best to go to the official's website and use their email form to send your email correspondence. If you'd rather fax your letter, use the fax number listed for the official.


1. Use the correct form of address:

President and Vice President 

The President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President __________:

The Vice President of the United States
Executive Office Building
Washington, DC 20501

Dear Vice President __________:

U.S. Senators

The Honorable ____________
_____  _____ Senate Office Bldg.
(rm #)  (name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator ___________:

U.S. Representatives

The Honorable ___________
_____  _____ House Office Bldg.
(rm #)  (name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative ___________:

 Governors and Lieutenant Governors

The Honorable _____________
Governor of the State of __________
State Capital

Dear Governor ___________:

The Honorable _____________
Lieutenant Governor of the State of__________
State Capital

Dear Lieutenant Governor _________:

2.  Avoid form letters; personal letters have more impact.

3.  Identify yourself and your organization.

4. Be concise.  Brief letters are more effective and more likely to be read than long ones.  Offer to elaborate if requested.  Address only one issue in each letter.

5.  Be specific.  Write about current issues or legislation.  If you are asking for support of or expressing opposition to a specific bill,  include its number and name, title or subject (House bill: H.R. _____, Senate bill: S. _____).  Communicate how the legislation impacts you, your colleagues, and your students, if possible.

6.  Don't ask for the impossible.  Politics is the art of the possible.

7.  Use personal or institutional letterhead which includes your return address and contact information.

8.  Increase your letter's impact by sending copies to your senators, members of Congress, and locally elected leaders.

9.  Ask for a reply.  You are entitled to know your legislator's position and reasoning.

10.  Follow up with a phone call within a week of mailing your letter.

11.  Timing is essential.  Know how the legislative process works.  Send your letter when the bill first reaches committee to have the greatest impact.  Follow up with a phone call or another letter before the bill is voted on.

12.  Feel free to write other committee members, even if you are not a constituent.  After all, they are the first to vote a bill out of committee or pass it by.

13. Encourage your colleagues to write their representatives.

14.  Feel free to send copies of your letters to NCTE at

15. Thank you for taking the time to advocate.  You WILL make a difference.


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NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts