Learn how to find out who represents you and how to communicate with them effectively. If you live in the United States, you have many people in government who represent you when making decisions about how our country, states, cities, and more operate. Voting lets you influence who these people are and staying in touch helps you influence what they do or don’t do.
How to Find Your US Senator and Representatives
- Find who represents you in the US Senate. Choose your state from the pull-down box to see both your senators and their Washington DC phone numbers, mailing address, and email.
- Find who represents you in the US House of Representatives. Enter your zip code to get to the official page for your representative. On that page, you should find contact information.
- Beside the official searches above, 270toWin will show you your federal and state representatives, including your governor, based on your address. Click on the little house icon by each for that person’s official website and the contact information for any local offices.
How to Make Your Communication Have the Most Impact
- Contact the closest local office for your representative. The national offices are overwhelmed.
- Write a postcard by hand. You can also call to “vote” on a hot issue. Your call will likely be answered by an intern who will add your call to the tally for that issue. Emails may be effective if you have a longer story or if the topic is urgent, perhaps with a vote coming up in a day or two. Physical letters in envelopes have to be opened and may have to go through extra security, so the message may be delayed.
- Identify yourself as a constituent when you are writing to your own representatives.
- Be polite and specific. Tell a personal story if you can and include any reason why your opinion on this topic should carry weight. My goal is to write one of the five postcards that a staffer pulls out of the heap of mail to show to my representative.
Going the Extra Mile
If you have time and want to be influential on a topic:
- Go to events where the representations engage with the public. Go to town-hall meetings. Volunteer for their campaigns. Go to their fundraisers if you can. Talk with the staffers at these events as well as the elected official or candidate.
- Get to know the staffer who handles that area. You can ask the office who helps the senator or representative with issues related to agriculture, health, education, or whatever. Help that person stay informed on your issues by writing regularly, perhaps once a month.
- Meet with your representative at his or her office. Be polite and prepared. Have a one-page handout to leave for reference.
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Great post, and super useful! Thank you.