Nine Simple Rules for Effective Communication With Your Legislators - Granite Grok

Nine Simple Rules for Effective Communication With Your Legislators

Email virtual pointing

Since most communications to state representatives and state senators these days are via email, it might be helpful to consider some commonsense “rules” to make the expression of your views more effective.

Related: Restoring Nashua Representation

Rule #1– always indicate your full name and town of residence in your email so the recipient can tell if you are from the district they represent or not.

Rule #2– do not barrage your legislators with “form” emails on a topic or proposed bill.

Rule #3– state your opinion concisely and avoid including attachments or links since most everyone these days is very suspicious about clicking on attachments or links in emails from people they do not know personally.

Rule #4– be very careful with your language- no “demands,” no threats. Try to make your language persuasive, but brief and respectful.

Rule #5– do not always expect that you will receive a response directly from your state representative or senator- each of them typically receives hundreds of emails a day, mostly from people outside of the district they represent.

Rule #6– avoid tilting at windmills- keep in mind what the General Court can do and what it cannot do. For example, proposed resolutions that seek to elicit action from the US Congress are usually a waste of time and effort and will have no practical effect.

Rule #7– do not try to start an argument- simply state your views without trying to argue with the recipient of your email. Do not try to initiate a debate. Most legislators are (essentially) volunteers with extremely limited time, are not looking for pen pals with whom they can go back and forth via email on an issue.

Rule #8– less is more. Although it is very easy to address your emails to all members of a specific committee, or to all 424 members of the General Court, incoming emails to members of the General Court that are addressed to large numbers of people are usually given much less weight than carefully worded individually-addressed emails.

Rule #9– elections have consequences. Since elections to positions in the General Court are held every 2 years, it is easy to review the voting records of your state representatives and state senators in advance of any election to determine whether you wish to support them for re-election or not. Or decide to run for office yourself.