Do you have a strong opinion on an important issue, proposed legislation or important policy decisions?

IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A CITIZEN TO TAKE ACTION AND MAKE SURE YOUR VOICE IS HEARD! – Here’s how…


#1 – Educate yourself.  Read the actual legislation and also read at least two or three balanced news articles about the proposed legislation.

#2 – Contact your local representatives and let them know how you feel

  • You will find contact information for your local representatives there.
  • Send them a brief email or you can use traditional ‘snail’ mail
  • Or give them a quick call at the Statehouse – You will be asked to leave a message with the Sergeant-at-Arms.  (802) 828-2228.

What to Include:

  • Be sure to include your name and the town you are from
  • Be clear and direct about what you are asking them to support or not support
  • Be brief and concise
  • Feel free to share a personal story

#3 – Call Governor Phil Scott and leave him a message on his voicemail 

(802) 828-3333 – Leave a message

#4 – Engage in dialogue and civil discourse with other people

  • Listen to their points of view and respectfully share your own

How to Write a Letter or Email to Your Legislator

KEEP IT BRIEF

 — Keep letters to one or two pages. Try to discuss only one bill or issue in a letter.

IDENTIFY YOURSELF

 — Begin with an introduction of yourself or the organization on whose behalf you are writing. Use a simple statement, such as “I am a tenth-grade student at Harwood Union High School” or  “I am a resident of Moretown”

GET TO THE POINT

 — Follow your introduction with a brief statement of your issue or concern, such as “We urge your support for (Bill #), which will ________.” 

If you are writing in reference to a specific bill, include the bill number. Follow your opening paragraph with a concise explanation of why you support or oppose the particular bill or issue. A few strong, well-thought-out arguments are much more effective than a laundry list of reasons to support or oppose a bill. Whenever possible, use bullet points to outline your arguments.  Also, try to include strong evidence to back up your arguments.  

RELATE IT TO HOME

 — Help the legislator understand why your position is important to his or her constituents. Include specific facts about how a bill will impact citizens in the legislator’s district. If possible, include a local anecdote illustrating the problem you are seeking to address. Avoid the use of form letters or generic postcards — use your own knowledge, experience and especially personal stories to inform the legislator.

ALLOW FOR FOLLOW-UP AND/OR REQUEST A RESPONSE

 — Include specific contact information and offer to act as a resource should the legislator or staff have questions or need additional information. Where appropriate, state in the letter that you will follow up with a telephone call. You might also consider asking a direct question about the legislation or asking for a brief response in return.

ADDRESS YOUR LETTER CORRECTLY — See the details on addressing your letter below.

Using Email

Email can be an easy and effective tool for communicating with legislators. The tips outlined above for writing letters to legislators also apply to emails: keep them brief and to the point, with facts and personal stories relevant to the legislator’s district.

Avoid informal language — Email to a legislator should be treated as seriously as a written letter. Resist the temptation to use the informal language and symbols often associated with e-mail communications. Never use impolite language or make “demands.” 

Include your full address and zip code — Make sure the text of your e-mail includes your full name and street address, including zip code. Many legislative offices screen emails for address information identifying the sender as a constituent. E-mails that appear to come from outside the district are unlikely to be read and may be blocked by filtering programs.

How to Address Your Letters and Emails

UNITED STATES SENATORS
The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator (last name) 

FOR MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

The Honorable (full name)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative (last name)
VERMONT SENATORS
The Honorable (full name)
Vermont Senate
Montpelier, VT 05663
Dear Senator (last name)

FOR MEMBERS OF THE VERMONT HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The Honorable (full name)
Vermont House of Representatives
Montpelier, VT 05663
Dear Representative (last name)