Most people know that their US senators are elected officials who represent them in Washington DC. But what do you do if you disagree with the senator’s stance on an issue? Or, maybe your Senator is a Democrat and you’re not happy with the Republican agenda to repeal Obamacare.
There are many ways to contact your Senators and tell them how you feel about certain issues.
This blog post will provide a step-by-step guide on how to contact both Democratic and Republican Senators based on where they stand on different issues. Additionally, we have included some of the most common questions asked by constituents when trying to contact their Senators.
- How do I know who my senators are?
- What if they don’t respond?
- What’s the best way for me to stay in touch with my senator?
Let’s get started. Here is a step-by-step guide to contact senators from both Democratic and Republican parties to get your voice heard.
Get the Basics Right.
What is the role of a US Senator?
As part of the federal government, US Senators are one of 100 members in the United States Congress. Since Senate terms are 6 years long instead of House terms at 2 years, only 1/3rd of the Senate is up for reelection at any given time. The Senate has many roles, but the most important one is to provide “advice and consent” on executive and judicial nominees put forth by the President.
Members of Congress like Senators also represent their constituents back home through voting on bills and participating in committees relevant to their interests.
What are the roles of a legislative assistant? Why should I care about a legislative assistant?
A legislative assistant is a staffer who works for a senator.
They are responsible for tracking legislation, answering constituent phone calls and emails, and doing research on issues. LA’s are the people you want to talk to when trying to get your voice heard by a senator.
They are the staffers who filter information up the chain of command and can give you insights into how your senator thinks about certain issues.
Finding the Senator Contact info
You can find the contact info of all senators here by state.
Be specific about your “ask”
When contacting your senator, it is important to be as specific as possible about what it is that you would like them to do. This will make it easier for them to understand and act on your request. Additionally, specificity demonstrates that you have done your research on the issue and that you are not simply writing to them randomly.
Examples of what you could ask
When contacting your senator, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
-Ask your senator to support or oppose a bill
-Ask your senator to vote for or against a nominee
-Ask your senator to cosponsor or not cosponsor a bill
-Ask your senator to attend an event or meeting
-Request a meeting with your senator’s staff
Examples of what you should not ask
-Don’t ask your senator to make a public statement on an issue
-Don’t ask your senator to fund a project or program
-Don’t ask your senator to take a position on an issue they have no control over
-Don’t attack or be too critical of your senator or their opponents
-Don’t write a novel – keep it short and to the point
Ace the communication.
Writing a powerful message
The most effective messages are ones that highlight a specific need of yours. It is important, to be honest, and upfront about how the issue affects you personally. It is also important not to overwhelm your senator with too many requests. A good number to aim for is between 3-5 specific asks.
As you create and express your own narrative, keep the following questions in mind:
- When have you been personally affected by this issue in the past? What are the most recent instances? How did they impact you?
- Do any of your friends, family members, colleagues know someone who has experienced this problem firsthand? If so, what is their perspective?
- What are your concerns about this issue?
- How would you like to see change happen?
Roles you could play when contacting your senator
There are a few different roles you could play when contacting your senator:
-A constituent – someone who lives in the state or district represented by the senator
-An advocate – someone who is passionate about an issue and wants to see change happen
-A voter – someone who will cast a vote for the senator in the next election
-A bridge – someone who is connected to both the community and the issue being discussed
Writing a letter
The most traditional way to contact your senator is by writing them a letter. This allows you to articulate your thoughts and feelings in detail, and also gives the senator time to respond if they choose to do so. When writing a letter, be sure to include your name, address, and what issue you are writing about.
You can find templates for letters online, or simply use a word processing program to create your own.
Here is an example of a letter to Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania:
|Senator Robert P. Casey, |
Jr.530 Hart Senate Office Bldgs.,
Dear Senator [First_Name Last_Name],
I am writing to express my deep concern for the issue of [describe the issue and who it affects] in the United States today. I know that you are [describe the senator’s position].
However, with [describe the recent development, e.g., who did what when that triggers your concern].
There is now a real possibility that [what is your worry as it affects Americans, e.g., Roe v Wade will soon be overturned and abortion could become no longer legal in most states across the country].
This would have devastating effects on [consequence on who/what/how, e.g., many women and families in our state and country.]
I would like to ask you to please do everything in your power to oppose the [be specific about the actions you would like your senators to take, e.g., confirmation of XYZ, and to protect XYZ’s access to ABC rights].
I believe that as a [repeat senator’s position, e.g., pro-choice senator, you have a moral obligation to fight for the rights of women and their families.]
Thank you for your time and consideration on this important issue.
12 tips to get a response on your writing
- Write one letter every day. If you only take the time to write a letter once a week or month, your message is less likely to be taken seriously by senators. Write at least one letter per day for an entire year, and you’ll have 352 letters sent in one year alone. Do not underestimate how much of an impact this will make!
- Write personal stories. Senators are more likely to advocate for issues if they know people are personally affected by them. Personal stories touch the hearts of senators and encourage them to take action. Include your full name, address, and phone number so that the senator’s office can verify the authenticity of your story before contacting you for more information or with questions.
- Be specific about how proposed legislation will affect you and your community. The more personal and specific your letter is, the easier it will be for senators to understand how a particular bill could impact your life or the lives of people you know.
- Use graphics and images. If you have the ability to include graphs, charts, or images with your letter, do so! Graphics are more likely to capture a senator’s attention and help them to better understand your message.
- Write letters in a friendly, positive tone. Avoid anger and hostility when writing letters to senators; these emotions will only work against you. Remember that senators are people too, and they’ll be more likely to listen if they feel like you’re coming from a position of respect.
- Address important issues. Write about issues that are important to you and/or your community. Showing how the election process affects everyday Americans is an easy way for senators to see how their actions impact real people.
- Write letters with purpose. If you have a specific goal in mind, include that information in your letter so your senator is fully aware of what they can do to help you achieve it.
- Write correct salutations and addresses for each letter or email sent. It’s necessary to research which senator should receive each letter before sending it, so being able to correctly refer to the right elected official is important! Letters sent without complete names and addresses will often end up in the trash rather than with the recipient, who may not even be aware of the letter’s existence.
- Write a date on each letter before sending it. Write the date of the month you mail your letter so that senators have an understanding of how long they have to take action on issues you raise in your letters.
- Write effective closing lines. Use strong closing sentences so that representatives know your name and what issue is most important to you, as well as a sense of what actions you want them to take. For example: “I will be watching closely as this bill moves through Congress.” or “Please vote ‘Yes’ on this bill and keep me posted on its progress.”
- Be brief and concise when writing a letter. Write out exactly what you hope to communicate in as few words as possible; long letters tend to be ignored or skimmed.
- Write multiple letters. Write one letter every day for a year, and you’ll have written 352 letters in just 365 days! Even if your messages aren’t all identical, you’ll still send the message that you’re serious about an issue. Write as many letters as possible so people know exactly how much an issue matters to you.
Calling your senator
If you prefer talking on the phone, you can call your senator’s office instead. This is a great way to share more personal stories about how an issue has affected you or someone close to you. It also allows the senator’s staff to ask more questions about the issue and get a better understanding of what their constituents want.
When calling, be sure to have the name of your senator and their state handy. You can also find this information on their website.
Here is a script you can use when calling:
“Hello, my name is (insert your name) and I’m a constituent of Senator (insert senator’s name). I’m calling to urge the senator to oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Abortion is a fundamental right that should not be taken away from women, and I believe that Brett Kavanaugh would be a disaster for the Supreme Court. Can you tell me what the senator plans to do oppose his confirmation?”
Addressing your senator at a town hall or public event
If you have the opportunity to see your senator in person, you can address them directly and share your thoughts and feelings. Town halls and other public events are a great way to do this, as they provide a more informal setting for discussion.
When addressing your senator, be sure to introduce yourself and state where you’re from. You may also want to bring a sign or ask a question during the Q&A portion of the event.
Here is an example of how to address your senator at an event:
“Hello, Senator (insert senator’s name). My name is (insert your name) and I’m from (insert your town or city). I’m very concerned about the issue of women’s access to reproductive health care, and I was wondering what the senator is doing to oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Thank you for your time.”
No matter how you choose to contact your senator, be sure to stay informed and vocal about the issues that matter most to you. Senators need to know that their constituents are paying attention and want them to stand up for what’s right. Let your voice be heard!
Using social media
Tweet your senator
Twitter is a great way to reach out to senators quickly and easily. You can tweet at them directly or use the hashtag #DearSenator to send a message that will be seen by all of their followers. Just be sure to keep your tweet short and personal.
Here are some sample tweets you can use to contact your senator’s office:
“Congratulations on being reelected! I’m very concerned about women’s access to reproductive health care, and I hope the senator will oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.”
“I don’t believe that Roe v. Wade should be overturned and abortion should become illegal in most states across the country. Please do what you can to protect women’s rights by opposing Brett Kavanaugh.” “Thank you for holding a public town hall soon. I look forward to hearing how my senator is going to defend our reproductive rights and fight back against those who want to take away.”
Facebook your senator
Like Twitter, Facebook is a quick and easy way to reach out to your senator. You can post on their Facebook wall directly or use the #DearSenator hashtag to get your message seen by other supporters on their page. Be sure to keep your messages simple, yet personal.
Here are some sample messages you can use when writing your senator on Facebook:
“Congratulations on being reelected! I’m very concerned about women’s access to reproductive health care, and I hope the senator will oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.”
“I don’t believe that Roe v. Wade should be overturned and abortion should become illegal in most states across the country. Please do what you can to protect women’s rights by opposing Brett Kavanaugh.” “Thank you for holding a public town hall soon. I look forward to hearing how my senator is going to defend our reproductive rights and fight back against those who want to take them away.”
Using an app or a website
There’s a lot of different ways you can contact your senator or representative, but some may be more effective than others depending on the issue you’re trying to bring up. There are several apps and websites that will walk you through the process of writing, calling, emailing, or tweeting at your senators or representatives about an important issue.
Here are just a few:
- Write letters to Congress using Resistbot
- Call congress using CallCongress
- Email all of Congress using Countable
- Write tweets to Congress using Tweet2Congress
12 Tips for effective communication with a senator or a representative
- Be polite and respectful.
- Begin your communication by reintroducing yourself and stating your position on the issue at hand.
- Write or call senators only about issues they have jurisdiction over.
- Be concise and to the point in all of your communications with senators.
- Follow up with an email if you write a letter or make a phone call to a senator’s office.
- Keep track of when senators are voting on bills that matter to you and contact them immediately before or after the vote.
- Thank senators for their time and actions on important issues, even if you disagree with them.
- Write letters, make calls, send emails individually rather than as part of a group.
- Write letters and make calls on issues that matter most to you personally.
- Write emails to all of Congress using the Common Cause website or Countable app .
- Don’t call senators with your concerns more than once a month, unless it’s about an especially important issue (like voting).
- Write individual snail mail letters if possible, rather than emailing or calling. Err on the side of fewer communication channels rather than more communication channels when contacting the senator’s office.
How to draft different types of messages…
– Write persuasive messages. Persuasive messages are especially effective when senators are undecided on issues; they present logical evidence for why senators should do what you want them to do (or not do). “Every time I turn on my TV, I see nothing but stories about layoffs and factories closing down. Will you vote to extend unemployment benefits? If not, many people in my community will continue struggling to make ends meet.”
– Write informative messages. The goal of an informative message is to provide facts that will help senators understand how a proposed law or resolution might impact constituents. “The current version of the bill deals with issues I’m currently writing about for my magazine. If passed, it would have a huge impact on me and my co-workers. Please read the attached article so you are fully aware of what’s at stake here.”
– Write response messages. Write response messages when you want representatives to reply to letters you’ve written. “I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this subject. Can you please let me know if there are any changes you’d like to see in the bill?”
– Write congratulatory messages. Write congratulatory messages when representatives take action that benefits their constituents or when they introduce bills that might help communities. “Congratulations on introducing this bill! I know how hard you’ve worked for this and I can’t wait to see it implemented.”
Address letters correctly…
– Know what to include in a letter of transmittal. A letter of transmittal is a note sent with correspondence so senators understand how it should be processed. Add the following line to your letter of transmittal: “Please place these documents in your official records, number them consecutively, and enter my office’s reference number into the congressional record.” This will help members of Congress keep track of incoming letters.
– Write “Attention To:” or “Attn:”. Write the word “Attention” followed by the name of the elected official, an abbreviated version of their state, and the word “To:” so they know what to do with your letter once it arrives. For example: Attention Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) To: Senator Ron Johnson
– Write “Dear Senator” or “Dear Congressman.” Write the words “Dear Senator/Congressman/Representative” at all times when addressing a letter. Never write out long names to ensure that members of Congress recognize their titles quickly.
Calling vs. writing your senators – which one is better?
– Write your senators. Write your senators if you have a lengthy message or want to convey detailed information that can’t be communicated quickly by phone. Take the time to write out what you want to say, draft it carefully, and proofread before sending it.
– Call your senators. Call your senators if you need an immediate response or want them to know how their vote on a bill will impact you immediately. For example, call rather than send emails after voting in favor of bills that are harmful to the environment because they might change their votes on these issues when enough constituents let them know they’re unhappy with the outcome!
Tips on calling or writing your Senators
– Write down what you want to say. Write down the name of your senators and their titles, key phrases that will help you remember what to say. Also write how each one has voted on issues that concern you (if possible), how much money they’ve raised from PACs since 2010 (you can find this information by searching opensecrets.org ), and any other relevant facts (e.g., incumbency status, etc.).
– Make your case quick and succinctly . Get straight to the point in as few words as possible. Write out how a proposed bill or resolution could impact you or others who are important to you – e.g., “If passed, HJR 192 would take away my current health insurance coverage and leave me uninsured.”
– Use personal stories . Share your personal story if it will illustrate how a proposed bill or resolution could impact you or others who are important to you. For example, “My cousin died from a preventable illness because she didn’t have health insurance. I don’t want that to happen to anyone else.”
– Ask for their vote. Politely ask senators how they plan to vote on a proposed bill or resolution, and let them know how you’ll be keeping track of their decisions.
– Thank them for their time. Always thank senators for taking the time to speak with you, even if they can’t commit to voting a certain way on a proposed bill or resolution.
Please keep in mind that contacting your senators is just one way to make your voice heard on issues important to you. You can also attend town hall meetings, protests, and sign petitions to show your support for or opposition to a particular bill or resolution. And finally, be sure to stay up-to-date on the latest news related to the issues that matter most to you!
Staying motivated and planning ahead
Why you should contact senators even if it’s so hard?
– They represent you. Senators are elected to represent their constituents in the United States Congress. They are your voice in Washington, D.C., and it’s important to let them know what you think on the issues that matter most to you.
– They listen. Senate staffers keep track of how many letters or calls they receive from constituents on a particular issue. Your opinion matters and your senators want to hear from you!
– They might change their mind. If enough constituents contact their senators about an issue, they may change their vote on a proposed bill or resolution. It’s important to make your voice heard!
– You can make a difference. Every call, letter, or email makes a difference – especially when combined with the voices of other concerned constituents. Write to your senators, call them, and let them know how you feel about current issues that concern you – or better yet, do all three!
– You could save someone’s life. If you contact your senators about voting in favor of a particular bill or resolution, they might change their mind based on how much money it will cost taxpayers (e.g., HJR 192) or who it would impact (e.g., people living with HIV/AIDS).
– You can play an active role in politics . When you contact your senators, not only are they keeping track of what you say – you’re also keeping track of how they vote! It’s important to take an active role in politics to ensure your voice is heard.
– It’s easy! Okay, so contacting your senators may not be the easiest task, but it’s definitely worth it. With a little bit of effort, you can make a difference on the issues that matter most to you.
What makes senators care more or less about an issue.
Below are the most cited sources of influence on a senator’s decision.
– Lobbyists. Lobbyists are individuals or organizations that contact legislators in order to persuade them to vote a certain way on a proposed bill or resolution. They can be very influential, and it’s important to know who they are and what they’re lobbying for.
– Constituents. Senators care about their constituents and want to make sure they’re voting in their best interests. If enough constituents contact their senators about an issue, they may change their vote on a proposed bill or resolution.
– Party affiliation. Most senators vote along party lines, so it’s important to know which party your senator belongs to.
– Campaign contributions. Money talks, and campaign contributions can be a powerful source of influence on a senator’s vote.
– Special interest groups. Some special interest groups (e.g., the NRA, AARP) have a lot of power and can be very persuasive when it comes to getting senators to vote a certain way on a proposed bill or resolution.
– Personal belief and value. Sometimes, senators vote based on what they believe is right. They may also vote along party lines if they feel their votes would contradict their personal beliefs or values.
– Representing political parties (e.g., Clinton, Bernie). Senators often vote the same way as their similar representatives in Congress (e.g., House of Representatives).
– Campaigns run against them (e.g., NRA, AARP). It’s no secret that some special interest groups like to run campaigns against senators who don’t agree with their proposed bills and resolutions – and this can definitely impact how a senator votes on these issues!
It’s important to know who these people are and how they’re influencing your senator’s vote on specific issues. Stay up-to-date on the latest news related to the issues that matter most to you!
What can I ask my senators to do for me?
Things you may or may not know your senators can do for you.
– Write and call your senators about the issues that matter to you . It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest news related to the issues that matter most to you, and one way to do that is to write and call your senators. You can find out how to contact them by clicking here.
– Help get you in touch with their staff or other resources . If you need help contacting your senator or want more information on a particular issue, their staff can be a great resource.
– Listen and take your views into account . Senators are people too, and they understand that not everyone agrees with them on everything. When you contact them, they’re taking your views into account and may even change their vote on a proposed bill or resolution because of them.
– Know that your views and opinions matter . Write and call your senators – they want to hear what you have to say!
So, if you’re ready, find out how to write and call your senators here.
What to do if you get no response…
Write again! Call too!
Do the same things but add in calling so there’s more than one method of contact involved. This can help with sending a unified message across multiple channels thus increasing the likelihood of getting noticed by the senator’s staff / getting a formal response from them. It can come off as an organized group rather than just an individual who is not being very considerate of their time.
After you have contacted your senator, it is important to follow up with them to ensure that they have received your message and are taking action on it. You can do this by sending a letter, email, or making a phone call. Keep in mind that senators are busy people, so don’t be discouraged if they don’t respond right away. Be persistent and respectful in your communications.
The United States Senate is one of the most important institutions in our government, and your voice can make a real impact on the decisions that are made there. If you’re not sure where to start or what to ask for, don’t worry – we ‘ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll talk about how to contact your senators, what you can ask them to do for you, and how to follow up with them once you’ve made your voice heard.
Remember, your senators are people too, and they want to hear what you have to say! Write and call them today.
We’ve highlighted a few ways you can get the attention of your senators, but we know that there are many different approaches to take.
If any of these don’t work for you or if you have other ideas on how to contact your senators about an issue that’s important to you, let us know! With our help and guidance, it may be easier than ever before to reach out with personal stories about issues affecting people in your area.
Let us know what happened when you contacted one of your senators
- Did they respond?
- Did they vote differently after hearing from their constituents?
- Have they sponsored legislation based on something related to this subject?
Tell us more so we can share it with others who need information like yours!