Writing to Elected Officials

Writing to Officials

A personal letter has long been one of the most effective ways to address an issue with government officials. In the U.S. Congress, it is standard practice for all constituent letters to receive a reply and be passed on to the federal agency involved. State and local government offices likewise are charged with paying attention to letters they receive from citizens.

Hearing from boaters and boating groups not only brings your issue to their attention but is a good reminder that boating is a community to be recognized when decisions are being made.

First, determine the level of government that will solve your problem. Then get the name(s) of your elected officials.

How Do I Find My Representative?

Local (City and County councils/boards)

  • City Website
  • Telephone Book
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Local Newspapers - which often publish local government guides

State (visit: BoatUS Government Affairs: Contacting Officials )

  • Open your state page
  • Find Representative and Senator for your district, or Governor if appropriate

Federal (visit: BoatUS Government Affairs: Contacting Officials ) or http://thomas.loc.gov

  • Find your Representative or Senator's Website by going to the U.S. Representative or Senate link
  • Select your legislator's Web page and send an e-mail (form found under "Contact Information")

Contacting Elected Representatives

E-Mailing Congress: In the post-9/11 era, postal mail to Federal officials is quite slow. Many now prefer to hear from their constituents via e-mail.

E-mailing has now become the fastest way to reach a congressman or senator in Washington, DC. Or write to them at their home district office which may have fewer security measures.
  • Include a subject line stating the issue topic.
  • Keep your message short and stick to one point; do not send a "laundry list" of different issues in one letter.
  • Explain the issue in the first paragraph. All politics is local. Do some homework and make sure you have your facts right when describing the issue or problem.
  • Give a short history of your efforts in second paragraph.
  • State what you would like your representative to do in the last paragraph.
  • Thank your member for his/her help.
  • Include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail.