How to…Write to your Senator


by Clint WallaceStaff Writer

When you think there has been injustice at Capitol Hill, how do you vent your frustration? When you think there has been injustice at the state level of Congress, how do you vent your frustration?

We all get mad at the people on both hills, state and federal, at some point in time. Whether it’s the dollar cigarette tax or gay marriage being lobbied in the Iowa Congress that upsets you, you can make your voice heard.

If you don’t agree with the present war, the budget spending or anything else being debated at Capitol Hill, you can express your opinions via e-mail, snail mail or by phone to those who are making these decisions. But, I can guarantee if you send white powder to either places, no one is going to take your writing seriously, no matter how well thought out it is.

Even though you are one voice, you still have a way to make it heard. The best way to voice your opinion is to personally contact your congressperson. Thanks to today’s always evolving technology, you can contact a person many ways.

You can send them an e-mail. Send your congressperson a detailed e-mail stating the problems you have with the issue at hand and a possible alternative. If you give other ideas other than the plans they are using, it makes you sound like you have done your research, which is always a plus.

You can also make a phone call or two. You are probably not going to be able to talk to your federal congressperson, but you can talk to the multitude of assistants they have. On the state level, you might be able to find their direct phone line, giving you a personal edge to explain your thoughts.

The down side to talking with them on the phone is the ability to double-check your material. You are talking one-on-one with the person – you should probably practice what you are going to say.

A great way to practice is with another person who thinks like you do, a person who doesn’t think like you or just in front of the mirror. If you practice what you are going to say, you will sound comfortable, established and intelligent.

You can also choose to send an old fashioned letter. Letters may take the most time, but it is still an effective way to explain your thoughts. With a letter, you can send other items to help your case, and put it on cool paper to attract the eye.

After you pick your poison, there are a couple of things you should do, such as know your representatives. If you have ideas, you need to know who to send it to them.

In order to send your well formulated ideas to a person, you need to know where you are registered. You are either registered in your hometown or here in Indianola. There is a Web site directory of Iowa congress people, letting you know who they are and how to contact them.

For a senator:

For a representative

Now the information is available to you, so make sure your voice gets heard! If you aren’t convinced your message can get heard through these conventional methods, I’m sure you can stalk your representative. You can also make consecutive road trips to Des Moines and then to our nation’s capital to make sure you are heard. Spending a weekend with friends while doing your democratic duty really spells a great time!