Diocese of Ogdensburg

The Roman Catholic Church in Northern New York

End-of-Year Legislative Report from the New York State Catholic Conference

Lobbying by Letter

Guidelines for writing to legislators
Along with how to contact your Legislators

Effective letter writing campaigns are essential to successful efforts to push legislative efforts in Congress and in your state legislature. Letter writing campaigns will be most effective if they are conducted according to the following guidelines:

Be Timely – Letters are of little value if they arrive after an issue has been decided. They are most effective if they are received before a legislator has committed to an issue.

Letters Must Be Personal – Letters to legislators can by typed or handwritten, but should be in your own words. Generally speaking, a legislator pays more attention to one personal letter than to a dozen form letters or pre-printed post cards.

Be Concise – Usually, you letter should be short and to the point in the first paragraph. Mention the official name (and number, if applicable) of the bill or amendment you are writing about. Avoid writing two unrelated issues in one letter.

Be Respectful- State your views in a firm but courteous tone. Abusive language or explicit threats ("I will vote against you") will not convert an unsympathetic legislator.

Follow Through – Expect a response to your letter. If you write to a congressman, the initial response will often be a vague form letter. Often, such letters merely explain what the bill does, without expressing the congressman’s position on the measure. If the response is not satisfactory, write again. Be sure to refer to the earlier correspondence. - provided by Douglas Johnson

The National Right to Life Committee

www.nrlc.org

To contact your legislators...

You can now send letters to your elected representatives with the simple click of a button. Go the New York State Catholic Conference web site at www.nyscatholic.org and click on "Action Center". Follow the instructions for the action alert on the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act." The letter is already written for you! It's that easy. You can e-mail the letter directly to your legislators, or print it out to fax or mail. You can also find out who your representatives are, secure background information on them, obtain votes of interest, even send notes to media outlets in your community. Be sure to check it out and tell your friends.

Kathleen Gallagher

Kathleen Gallagher, Director of Pro-Life Activities for the NYS Catholic Conference is shown with a number of students from Immaculate Heart Central in Watertown, NY, who attended the one-day Respect Life conference held at their school recently.