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Tips For Contacting Your Texas Legislators

Citizen input is an important part of the legislative process.  Many citizens, however, are not familiar with the best ways to contact their elected officials.  There are no rules for contacting legislators but the following tips may help.

 

Some Basic Tips

 

Find out who your legislators are. You are welcome to contact any legislators but you should find the office of your elected officials more responsive.  Go to legislator listing.
 

Learn a little about your legislator before you contact them.  It is helpful to know what their occupation is, what committees they serve on, how long they have served in office etc. All of this information is available on their official website.

 

Ask to be included on your legislator"s mailing or email list. They regularly communicate with their constituents and provide schedules of when they will be appearing locally.

 

Register to vote and vote regularly. Take your responsibility as a citizen and a taxpayer to the higher level by voting.

 

Writing Letters

 

Address your legislator as either "Senator" or "Representative."

 

Write on your personal or business letterhead if possible and identify yourself.

 

Try to keep your letters to one page, and put your message in your own words. Be short and to the point. Chain letters or chain emails become more burdensome to the legislative staffs and thereby become less effective.

 

Ask the legislator to reply.

 

Like everyone else, legislators do not like a threatening tone. They represent many different constituents and interests.  Make your point with the understanding that others may disagree.

 

Be sure that your legislator receives the letter before action is taken on the issue. Check the legislation"s status at Texas Legislature Online so you know what stage of the process it is in. A State Senator, for example, would be the wrong person to write regarding a House Bill.

 

Making Phone Calls

 

Call your legislator at his/her office in Austin.

 

If you can’t get through to a legislator directly, ask to speak to the staffer who is handling the issue. Otherwise, convey your message to the person who answered the phone.

 

Address your legislator as either "Senator" or "Representative."

 

Be sure to identify yourself and indicate that you are a constituent.

 

Keep your call brief - let the other person know in short and concise terms why you are for or against something -- most calls to legislators only last a few minutes.

 

Thank him/her for their attention to the matter, and let them know that you are looking forward to seeing how the legislator votes on the issue.


Making Personal Visits

 

To meet with your Representative or Senator, call and make an appointment. It is usually best to visit with the member in your home area, because when he or she is in Austin there are myriad demands on their time. However, elected officials often appreciate when their constituents travel out-of-town to visit with them.

For personal appointments, follow the same rules of brevity that you would in letters by staying on point. It is helpful if you bring written information outlining your point.

Get to know the legislator’s clerk. She or he is close to the legislator and usually maintains the office calendar for appointments. Therefore, being polite and helpful to the legislator’s staff will serve you well.

 

When testifying in person, bring a written copy of your statement, along with supporting materials (newspaper and/or editorial articles, studies, reports, etc.). Bring enough copies for each member of the committee and extras for legislative staff. To see who is on the committee(s) in which you are interested, click here.

Texas Legislative Resources


 

Return To Allen ISD "Austin Alert" Page
 

Texas Senate Directory

Texas House Directory

Governor"s Office