When the time calls for it, we will ask you to write your California Legislators in the Senate and Assembly. The opinions of citizens in their own districts are important to them, and many legislators believe that your one letter represents the view of 100 others who did not take the time to express their position.
Here are a few tips on writing your letter:
- Clearness – Be upfront about the issue you are writing about and be sure to include the bill number, author(s), and the title, if it is short.
- Conciseness – Focus on a few key points in your letter and address only one issue per letter. Usually 1-page maximum is appropriate, as your legislator has many letters to read.
- Calmness – Be descriptive rather than emotional. Do not use threats, heated language, or sarcasm.
- Completeness – Include every essential point in your letter and any of the “Opposition Points to Share with Legislators” in the action alert.
- Courtesy – Write with respect to their office and address them appropriately (see sample below). With care, even an opposing point of view can be stated in a respectful way. Don’t try to convert your legislator, but rather ask for his or her support.
- Correctness – Be sure to check all your facts before mailing your letter. You don’t need to sound like an expert on every political issue, but you can write as a concerned and intelligent constituent when you stick to the facts.
- Creativity – Personalize the letter and take their personality into consideration, if possible. Avoid vagueness and overused expressions. You may mention how it would impact your family in the way they voted, if you write it respectfully.
Below are sample letters when writing in regards to a specific bill. The first sample letter is in support of a bill, and the second and third sample letters are in opposition to a bill. The fourth letter is a sample opposition letter written by a homeschool group. The fifth letter is a sample follow-up letter.
Following Up Your Letter
After writing to your legislator about an issue, it is important to follow up with a letter of thanks if he has voted in support of your view. While state legislators usually receive relatively few letters on any one issue, thank you letters for a job well done are very rare.
Keep your thank you note brief, simply mentioning the bill or issue that you previously wrote about, and thanking your legislator for his support. This act will let him know that you are aware of how he votes on issues, and will let him know you are appreciative of his work.