“Call your Senator,” they said. “Email your Congressperson,” they said. “Tweet at your member of Congress,” they said. Not sure where to start or when do use one form over the other? You’re in the right place! This answers how to contact your Senators and Representative with details and tips for calling and writing your member of Congress.
How to Call Congress
Why: A phone call to Congress is best for simple, urgent issues. For example, to tell your members how you want them to vote on an upcoming piece of legislation. (“Please vote YES on the For the People Act.”) The staffer who answers your call will take notes and tally your call, but a personal anecdote or complicated issue may not translate well via phone.
How: Listen, I grew up with a phone attached to my ear (which was, of course, attached to the wall), but now I avoid phone calls at all costs. However, calling your member of Congress is extremely effective for time sensitive issues. Even if you’re phone call averse like I am, it’s worth it to call on important issues. Make some notes, take a deep breath, and go for it. You got it!
Tips: To take all the guesswork out and make it as un-intimidating as possible, check out Step-by-Step Instructions to Call Your Members of Congress.
Send a Letter to Your Member of Congress
Why: Email and letters create a written record of your correspondence and allow the time to tell your story and provide context. For time-sensitive issues, send an email, fax or snail mail to the district office because mail can move slowly through the US Capitol system in DC.
Tips: Writing an effective letter to your member of Congress.
- Keep your letter professional and courteous.
- Use proper salutation. “Dear Senator Brown”
- Open with a short statement about the issue and your request. “I am contacting you in support of the For the People Act, S. 1. This important legislation will protect voting rights for Americans and I urge you to vote YES.”
- Make it personal. Unlike a phone call, you have a little more time and space to include an anecdote or experience that reinforces your position.
- Have a clear ask. Be very specific about why you’re writing and encourage just one action per letter. Don’t dilute your request with unrelated issues.
- Always include your contact information, to demonstrate you are a constituent, and request a response if you would like one.
How to Send, Email or Fax Your Letter to Congress
There are a number of methods to send letters to your members of Congress. You will find mailing addresses, email addresses and web contact forms on most members’ websites. Links to your members of Congress websites are below.
- Find and visit your Senators’ website for DC and state office mailing addresses, email address, web contact form and phone numbers.
- Generic Senate DC mailing address:
The Honorable (Senator Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
- Send a fax to your Senator via FaxZero.
- Search and visit your Represenative’s website for DC and district office mailing addresses, email address, web contact form and phone numbers.
- Send a fax to your Representative via FaxZero.
Tweet Members of Congress
Why: Another way to make your voice heard quickly and efficiently is to tweet at your member of Congress. While clearly not as official or “on the record” as other forms of communication, tweeting can nonetheless be effective, especially on a trending hot topic.
Tips: The basic formula for writing a post to your member of Congress is the following: location + member of Congress name or handle + the issue. Location is your state or district, tag your elected official when possible and, of course, be clear about the issue. Some politicians have two accounts – one official account and another for when they are campaigning. Engage with the elected account, often linked to their .gov website. Finally, make sure you follow your elected so you can like, retweet or reply when they post. Staff members may those numbers.
Senator Twitter Handles
Here’s an up to date list of all 100 Senators and their Twitter handles.
To tweet directly at your Senator, first click the @handle and it will open their Twitter page in a new window. Then, click the blue “tweet” button and it will open a new tweet window with their handle in the draft.
I’m sorry I don’t have one for the House, but collecting 435 Twitter handles feels little daunting. Never fear, just search your congressperson’s name on Twitter and you’ll likely find their account.
Make Your Voice Heard
The most important tip for how to contact your Senators and Representative is this: just do it. You have an opinion and it is worth sharing with the person whose job is to literally represent your interests. Pick up the phone, write the email, send the tweet. No matter how you do it, make your voice heard.