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Guides

Civic Engagement: Contacting Officials

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Components of Letter to an Official

1. Before starting your letter, ask yourself the purpose of the letter.

  • Are you writing a letter of support or asking for help?
  • Are you asking this person to clarify their position?
  • Are you asking this person to state their position on certain issue(s) or reveal their voting record on a certain issue(s)?
  • Are you wishing to make this person aware of an issue that you have a specific view upon?
  • Do you wish to inform this official about an issue and provide background, history, a specific situation etc.?
  • Are you hoping to persuade this official to vote in a certain way or take a related action?
  • Do you wish to make yourself known or build your reputation as a thoughtful person in order to be able to be consulted or assist someone more influential later about an issue?
  • Are you requesting a meeting to discuss an issue or some matter of concern?
  • Are wanting to inform this person that you are critical of their actions?

2. Once you establish your purpose, determine whom else, if any, needs to be CC:d on the letter.  For example, if you are writing a Governor about Clean Air violations in your city, do other officials need to be copied?  Or do you need to copy your State Legislator on the issue and your City’s Mayor?

3. After you have that sorted out, you are ready to write your letter!


Key Components of the Letter (If you have letterhead, then use it!)

Addressing the Letter

Letters to your representatives should be (e-) mailed to one of two locations:

* the representatives home address; or

* the representatives Washington/State House address.

 

To the U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable (Use full name)

US. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman or Congresswoman (Use last name)

 

To the U.S. Senate

The Honorable (Use full name)

US. Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator (Use last name)

 

To Your Local Legislator(s)

State Representative

The Honorable (Use full name)

1007 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

Dear Representative (Use last name)

State Senator

The Honorable (Use full name)

1007 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

Dear Senator (Use last name)

 

 

Brett Cloyd

Profile Photo
Brett Cloyd
Contact:
Main Library
319.335.5743
Website

John Elson

Profile Photo
John Elson
Contact:
Campus address:
1026 LIB
319-335-5970