Toolkit: Calling or Writing Your Member of Congress

If you don’t have time for an in person visit (either in the district or in DC), don’t despair. Below you will find tips and tools for writing or calling your legislators and ensure that your voice is heard.

Identify your Legislators:

Find your Legislators’ Contact Information:

  • The best place to find your legislators’ contact information is on their website
  • Representatives websites can generally be found by using lastname.house.gov
  • Senators websites can generally be found using lastname.senate.gov
  • When calling an office, you’ll want to ask for the science staffer, or the staffer whose portfolio includes environment, energy or space
  • When writing the office, simply use the DC Office mailing address, which is listed on their website. Some members may have a place on their website where you can submit a letter.

Research your Legislator or Legislative Issue:

  • The best place to do some research on your legislators is on their websites. There, you can review their biography, issues page, their press releases, and how they voted on recent pieces of legislation.
  • Another good place to do some research on your legislators is Congress.gov. Here you can view any legislation that your member has authored (or sponsored) and legislation that they have co-sponsored.
  • If you know the title or bill number, you can read a short plain-English summary of the bill as well as monitor what stage the bill is at in the legislative process.

Draft your Message to your Legislator:

  • Identify yourself as a scientist and, if applicable, a constituent
  • Specify the policy issue or bill that you are contacting them about
  • If applicable, thank them for their past work on this issue or another issue
  • Tell them what you want them to do (support or oppose) the issue or bill
  • Provide additional details about why they should support or oppose an issue and how the district will be negatively or positively affected
  • Offer to be a resource on this issue
  • Thank them for their consideration and let them know you will follow up with them as the issue moves forward

If you’re having trouble drafting your message, check out AGU’s Sharing Science message worksheet for a helpful brainstorming guide.

Follow-up with the Office

  • If you do not hear a response from the science staffer or the office within a few weeks, call or write the office again, letting them know this is your second time reaching out to them.
  • If your issue or bill is being considered by a committee, is going to be voted on, or begins to appear in the news, follow-up with the office to reiterate your position and what you would like your legislator to do. 

Sample Phone Script

Sample Letter

 

****A note about timing – You want to contact your legislators before they have publicly announced their position or taken a vote on an issue or bill. Therefore, you want to reach out to your legislators as soon as possible.