Lobbying by Email or Letter

Written advocacy can be a very effective form of communication. However, legislators often receive hundreds of letters and emails each week. Here are some tips to make your letter stand out:

  • Type or write legibly.
  • Include your full name and address so that your legislator can respond. Include a phone number so the legislator can contact you if he/she wishes to discuss the issue with you.
  • Do not begin on a self-righteous note (e.g. “As a citizen and a taxpayer…”).
  • Limit your letter to one bill or issue. Refer to it by name and number.
  • Make clear what your position is and what action you want your legislator to take.
  • Use your own words. Do not use stereotypical phrases and sentences from form letters. Your own personal experience is the best supporting evidence.
  • Tell your legislator how the issue affects you, your family, clients, organization, profession, and/or your community.
  • If you are working with others on the issue, or if you are otherwise active in the community, say so.
  • Be reasonable. Do not seek impossible things or threaten. Do not say, “I will never vote for you if you do not do this”.
  • After you have told your legislator where you stand, ask your legislator to state his/her position in reply.
  • Thank the legislator for considering your request. Much of the mail received by delegates and senators is from displeased constituents; a letter complimenting your legislator will be remembered favorably the next time you write.
  • Write to each legislator individually. Do not send photocopies of a letter to other legislators.
  • Address your legislator properly:
    • State Delegate:
      The Honorable John Smith                                Dear Delegate Smith:
      House Office Building
      Annapolis, Maryland 21401
    • State Senator:
      The Honorable Jane Smith                                 Dear Senator Smith:
      James Senate Office Building (or Miller Senate Office Building)
      Annapolis, Maryland 21401
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