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Expressing Your Opinion By Letter
Letters from constituents have a significant impact on legislators. All personal letters must be counted, catalogued, and answered by staff aides who "tally" a district's opinion. However, both quality and quantity are important. Individual letters carry more weight than form letters. Postcards are better than saying nothing at all. When writing your letters, keep in mind the following tips:

•    Write legibly or type your letter.
First impressions are important and you should do your best to make a good one.

Keep your letter short and to the point.
Legislators receive thousands of letters, and they can't read each one thoroughly. Use bullets and bold type-face to emphasize your main points.

Be specific.
Cite a bill number and other pertinent information such as the bill's sponsor, name and status.

Use personal stories and facts whenever possible.
Your own experience is the best supporting evidence. Say how the issue affects you, your family, your participants, your organization, your profession, or your community.

Describe what it is you want the legislator to do.
For example, co-sponsor, oppose, or support a particular bill or increase funding for a program.

Sign your full name and address on the letter and envelope so your legislator can write you back.
Ask for a reply that outlines your legislator's position on the issue.

Write a follow-up letter.
Express appreciation or disappointment with the actions the legislator took, or provide additional information if circumstances change or if the legislator has not yet taken a position.



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