Writing to a Member of Congress

One of the best ways to communicate with a Member of Congress is through a well-reasoned personal letter. Your correspondence will be more effective if you follow these guidelines:

  • Timing is important! A letter sent after Congress acts is a missed opportunity, while correspondence sent months before an issue is considered may be forgotten.
  • Email is strongly recommended. Avoid sending your mail by fax.
  • Limit your letter to one page and to one subject. Avoid scientific jargon.
  • In the first paragraph, explain your reason for writing. Briefly describe your credentials, and include other pertinent information. As necessary, note that these are your own views rather than those of your employer.
  • In the second paragraph, describe the importance of the issue. Cite relevant facts and avoid emotionalism. Frame your discussion from a national, rather than a personal, perspective.
  • In the third and concluding paragraph, request (do not demand) a specific action. Thank the Member for his or her consideration of your views. Offer assistance.
  • Cite a specific bill when possible. fyi [at] aip [dot] org (Contact AIP for assistance) or see the FYI archive.
  • Ensure that your letter includes your name, address, and telephone number.

For information on your Member of Congress and legislation:

Correct address styles:

The Honorable __________________________
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator ___________________________

The Honorable __________________________
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative ______________________