Writing to Legislators

Personal, thoughtful, well-written letters have a significant impact on lawmakers, especially when the letters are from their constituents. Here are the four most important things to remember when writing elected representatives:

  1. Tell them you’re a concerned parent, educator, or citizen.
  2. Tell them what you support or oppose.
  3. Explain the local impact.
  4. Be clear about the action you want them to take.

More letter-writing tips:

  • Properly address the legislator. See How to address legislators
  • Be timely. When writing about an imminent vote, make sure the letter gets there before the vote. Your insight won’t be much help if the vote was yesterday.
  • Avoid form letters. Write your letter personally. Adapt sample letters and use your own words. Avoid slogans or phrases from form letters.
  • Keep the letter short, no more than one side of a single page.
  • List a few key points that you strongly support or oppose.  Select a few of the points that appeal to you about a particular issue, such as testing. 
  • Keep your letter on one topic, such as funding. Write a separate letter for a separate issue, such as testing or vouchers.
  • Express your point of view and explain why the legislator should support your position; but don’t get personal, never threaten, and never be offensive. Don’t mention Election Day.
  • Neatly type or write the letter, preferably on business or personal letterhead with a return address. Envelopes are discarded.
  • Be respectful and reasonable. See a sample letter.

How to address legislators:

Knowing how to correctly address public officials is important when advocating. Here is a list of key state officials and correct forms of address for letters and personal contacts:

The Governor

When writing:
The Honorable (Full Name)
Governor of Texas
State Capitol
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428

Dear Governor (Last Name):

When speaking: “Governor (Last Name)”

The Lieutenant Governor

When writing:
The Honorable (Full Name)
Lieutenant Governor of Texas
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711-2068

Dear Governor (Last Name):

When speaking: “Governor (Last Name)”

The Speaker of the House

When writing:
The Honorable (Full Name)
Speaker of the House
Texas House of Representatives
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

Dear (Mr. or Ms.) (Last Name) or Dear Speaker (Last Name):

When speaking: “(Mr. or Ms.) Speaker”

State Representative

When writing:
The Honorable (Full Name)
Texas House of Representatives
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

Dear Representative (Last Name):

When speaking: “Representative (Last Name)”

State Senator

When writing:
The Honorable (Full Name)
State Senate
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711-2068

Dear Senator (Last Name):

When speaking: “Senator (Last Name)”

United States Representative

When writing:
The Honorable (Full Name)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative (Last Name):

When speaking: “Representative (Last Name)”

United States Senator

When writing:
The Honorable (Full Name)
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator (Last Name):

When speaking: “Senator (Last Name)”

The President

When writing:
The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear (Mr. or Ms.) President:

When speaking: “(Mr. or Ms.) President”

E-mail

Although all members of the Texas Legislature can be reached by e-mail, they may not check it regularly. The e-mail address for Senators is firstname.lastname@senate.state.tx.us; for Representatives, the e-mail address is firstname.lastname@house.state.tx.us. Direct links to legislator's web pages and email are provided in the Contact Info in the left column of this web page.

Fax

Contact Info in the left column of this web page provides phone and fax numbers for legislators. Because of the limited number of fax machines in the Texas House and Senate, there is a good chance messages sent using this technology will get tied up, misrouted, or lost. It may be best to use other, more dependable, communications tools.

Sample Letter to Your Legislator

This is a very generic letter that provides a framework for you to write.
 

The Honorable Melissa Model
State Senate (or House of Representatives)
P.O. Box 12068-Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711

Dear (Senator) (Representative)  _________:

I am a concerned __________ (parent, citizen, educator) from Humble ISD. On behalf of my school district, I urge you to support ____________________ for Humble ISD. Providing this would significantly help in the education of children in my community. (Insert specific examples or information.)

 

Thank you for your leadership in support of public education. 

Sincerely,

Your Name
Your full address 

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