Suggestions on Writing the President and Congress

1. If you are angry don't write. Wait until you cool down. 99% of the angry letters these people get never make it beyond an aides trash can or delete key.

2. Be sure you are writing the right person. Don't write your U.S. Senator about a state or local issue and don't waste your time writing your local member of the state legislature about a national one. More than likely he may be just as upset and feel as powerless as you do.

3. "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar." Be polite and business like. Don't rant and rave. Above all don't threaten; it's against the law and in the case of the president will definitely get you a visit from the FBI or the Secret Service.

4. When you write first of all identify yourself. Make sure that your name, address, telephone and email address is there right in the beginning. If there is no way they can contact you they trash it (exactly the same thing you would do, right?).

5. Explain the problem as full as possible but try and keep it in one or two paragraphs. Long rambling dissertations are a waste of time. If you feel that's impossible attach your full explanation as an attachment and reference it in your short explanation of the problem in the body of the letter.

6. Explain what you would like the representative to do. Ok you have a problem but what can they do about it.

7. Request an answer back. Don't leave it up in the air. Something like "I would appreciate an answer at your earliest convenience." He knows means "get off your duff and get back to me."

8. Mail it with appropriate urgency. If you email them also send the same by postal mail and reference back to each other. Spend a $1.50 and mail it certified. Don't just put a stamp on it and drop it in the box. If it's that important to write then it's that important to mail properly.

9. When you do write make sure you are a registered voter. Believe me they are going to check that out.

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Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), English soldier, prime minister. Dispatch, Aug. 1810, speaking of his generals-though commonly thought to refer to the rank-and-file soldiers. A similar remark is attributed to English prime minister Lord North, 1776-77.