How to Contact your Legislator
Know Your Legislators! You have senators and representatives at both the Pennsylvania state level and the United States federal level.
Use the links below to locate who your representatives are. Learn their names. Save their phone numbers in your phone or write down their information and keep a list somewhere convenient. Their job is to represent you, and you can contact them to let them know how political decisions impact you and your community.
Federal Senators and Representative
Pennsylvania State Senator and Representative
Calling your legislator
Calling is an effective way for us to let our elected officials know we feel about certain bills or issues and how legislation will impact us. Legislators pay attention when many people call them about an issue.
• Remember that telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the legislator. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue about which you wish to comment.
• After identifying yourself, tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as: “Please tell Senator/Representative (Name) that I support/oppose pending legislation about health care.”
• State reason(s) for why you support or oppose the bill or issue.
• Ask for your Senator’s or Representative’s support on your response to the bill. You may also request a written response to your telephone call.
•You might feel nervous calling your representatives. Know that their job is to listen to you and represent you. Here’s a great comic about How to Call Your Reps When You Have Social Anxiety.
Writing your legislator
You can write an email, letter, or fax to congressional offices. Some legislators have forms on their websites where you can submit your message. If you write a message, follow these suggestions to improve the effectiveness:
• Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify it accordingly, e.g., House bill: H. R. _, Senate bill: S._.
• Be courteous, to the point, and include key information, using examples to support your position.
• Address only one issue in each letter. Keep the letter to one page if possible.
Meeting your legislator
You can schedule meetings with your legislator. These are the basics for a legislative visit. You can also find our more detailed planning list here.
- Plan your Visit. Determine which legislators hold key committee positions or hold influential positions in order to make the biggest impact with your issue.
- Make an Appointment. Contact the legislator’s office in advance and arrange a scheduled meeting about the issue.
- Be Prepared. Know the issue inside and out. Create a fact sheet or a packet of information so that the legislator has details of your position and can do further research on the issue.
- Be Political. Legislators want to represent the best interests of their constituency. Know the legislators constituency and how the legislation will affect this population. Always ask for a commitment from the legislator on a particular bill.
- Be Responsive. You may need to answer questions, so know the topic thoroughly. Follow-up the visit with a thank you letter that reiterates your stated position.