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How to Write an Effective Letter to a Legislator
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  1. The letter should be typewritten or very clearly written by hand.
  2. Always put a return address on the letter – not just the envelope. Envelopes are immediately thrown away. Put your telephone number on the letter, if you are comfortable with that.
  3. Do not write letters that are more than two pages. One page is preferable.
  4. Do not write long paragraphs. Try to keep your paragraphs to no more than eight lines.
  5. State why you are writing in the very first paragraph. For example, “This letter is regarding H.B. 526, introduced by Rep. Wayne Jones, which would establish utilization review practice guidelines in Ohio.”
  6. If relevant, state where the money will come from to fund the proposal.
  7. Briefly state who you are.
  8. State your relationship to the legislator, i.e., constituent, registered voter, representative of an association or group of people, provider or consumer of service, etc. For example, “As a practicing psychologist, I want you to know ….”
  9. Elaborate on why you are writing. Make this part of the letter personal. Describe the macro issue, if possible, and then describe your experience. This should be two or three paragraphs.
  10. Convey a sense of urgency about the legislation. People are suffering today. Services are needed today. For some, tomorrow may be too late.
  11. Always ask a question of the legislator. For example, “Tell me how you would feel if your spouse was attempting to obtain an important medical procedure and insurance coverage was denied by someone with no expertise in the field?”
  12. Specifically ask the legislator to support the bill.
  13. Respectfully ask to hear from the legislator regarding their position on the bill.