Tips on Writing Your Legislator
One of the most basic, yet effective, means of lobbying is writing or calling your elected official. Hearing from constituents is all part of a day’s work for a legislator, and legislators are generally committed to responding. When contacting a legislator in writing, express your views clearly, briefly, and forcefully. Here are a few suggestions for writing your letters:
- Before writing, think through the key points you want to make.
- Ascertain the committee assignments of your legislators. Keep in mind legislators have much more influence over bills pending in their own committees.
- Organize your letter. Clearly identify the subject or title of the legislation in the first paragraph and identify yourself as a constituent early in the letter.
- Get your facts straight. If you are using facts or statistics to support your views, make sure they are current and accurate.
- Write simply and clearly.
- Limit the letter to one page.
- Be specific as to the action you want the legislator to take.
- Ask for a reply to confirm that your letter has been received and read.
- Proof carefully for spelling and grammar.
- Sign your letter. Always include your name, address, e-mail, and telephone number to facilitate a response from your legislator.
- Use standard phrases or clichés.
- Send anonymous letters.
- Be abusive, threatening, or sarcastic. An offensive letter will work against you, either being ignored or turning the legislator against your viewpoints.
- Assume the letter will be disregarded. It will be read.
Legislator Sample Letter to a Texas State Representative
The Honorable Sarah Davis
Texas State House of Representatives
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Dear Representative Davis;
My name is Bailey Weiner. I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian from Houston, Texas. As one of your constituents, I am writing to you to urge you to support House Bill (insert bill number when available), The Registered Dietitians Practice Act (insert bill name when available).
Nationally, dietitians are known as the nutrition experts by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science. With this position, the nutrition expertise of the registered dietitian has been recognized as the standard for reimbursement from Medicare. Additionally, no less than thirty other states in our union have a practice act that recognizes the role of the dietitian as the nutrition professional. We think it’s about time that Texas did, too.
Why the Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Act is important for Texans:
The public should be able to distinguish (through this act) who is qualified to provide nutrition advice and who is not.
Currently, Texans are not able to easily distinguish who has a mastery of scientific knowledge in nutrition. Potential for public harm in this situation is high for our most vulnerable groups: those with chronic disease states, pregnant females, infants, and our elderly.
The act promotes scientifically sound nutrition advice from the nationally recognized professionals: registered dietitians.
The act helps protect Texans against harmful or wasteful nutrition advice or services
Representative McCall, I urge you to consider supporting HB (insert bill number when available), for the safety of all Texans.
Bailey Weiner MCN, RDN, LD, CNSC
(insert phone number)
MD Sample Letter to a Texas State Senator
The Honorable Florence Shapiro
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711
Dear Senator Shapiro;
I am writing to you to urge you to support SB (insert bill number when available), The Texas Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Act.
I am a cardiologist and one of your constituents from Dallas, Texas. In my practice, it is vital that my patients receive the soundest nutrition advice based on scientific evidence. The population I serve is fragile, with typically more than one health issue putting them at risk along with their cardiovascular problems. In my practice, I routinely send my patients to see registered dietitians for nutrition counseling. I rely on their knowledge and expertise in the field of nutrition to provide my patients with the best care possible.
Since the state of Texas does not currently have a practice act for dietitians, it makes it more difficult for patients to find a reputable resource for nutrition counseling. This can be a potentially dangerous situation, not to mention a fiscally wasteful one, for those most at risk.
Dietitians are already nationally recognized by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science as the nutrition professionals. Also, thirty other states in this country have similar practice acts, which protect the health of their citizens. Texas should do the same.
I urge you to support Senate Bill (insert bill number when available) and make it known the commitment you have to the health of the people in your district and to the state of Texas as a whole.
Michelle Supportthebill, MD
(insert phone number)