The best way to defend yourself against interest groups who lobby with their own interests in mind and not yours is by writing a letter, email or calling your representative.
Here are some hints for effective communication that may be of help to you when you want to make your opinion known to elected officials.
Just REMEMBER: You must be a registered voter in order for your opinion to count. They will check
Suggestions on how to write a better email or letter:
- Address it properly by using their proper title such as Senator, Congressman, Representative, Speaker of the House, Mr. Chairman, Madam Chairman, Madam Speaker or Mr. Speaker.
- For local officials: Write them care of their city, town or county government addresses which can be found in your telephone book.
- Identify yourself by always mentioning the state, congressional or legislative district, city or county in which you are a voter. Mention your Modified Motorcycle Association (MMA) affiliation.
- Be Specific when writing about legislation, use the bill number (HB2133) or the title of the bill if you know it. If not briefly describe the issue that concerns you.
- Be timely and write when the issue is current, not after the key vote has taken.
- Explain your position and in your own words explain how the bill or amendment will affect you. Don’t forget that a bill can change as it moves through the legislative process. So urge your legislator to oppose crippling amendments or support strengthening ones.
- Ask for a response and request a reply to your letter. This information will be helpful to our lobbying efforts. Be polite in your request.
- Be brief and write about one bill or issue at a time. Don’t drag on or write a laundry list of legislative problems. A one-page letter will surely be read and is always the most effective.
- Be legible if it is handwritten letter. Make it easy to read, handwritten or typed.
- Be Polite and don’t threaten, demand or be abusive. That’s an immediate turnoff.
- Don’t be a Pen Pal and write on selected issues. Quality, not quantity, is what counts. Don’t wear out your welcome.
- Write it, mail it or email it right away. Remember, the timeliness of your communication is as important as what you’ve written.
- You’ve elected them, so you should tell them what you think.
Suggestions on telephoning your elected Legislative person
- To find your Arizona State Representative or Senator’s phone number go to www.azleg.gov
- Remember that telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not member of the Arizona Congress. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue about which you wish to comment.
- Before calling make some notes of what you have in mind to say.
- After identifying yourself, tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as Senator/Representative________I am calling on Bill _____.
- You will also want to state reasons for your support or opposition on the bill. Ask for your Senator or Representatives position on the bill.
- Remember be Polite and ask for a follow-up call if you’d like.
Keep it brief and in your own words. Identify yourself and your district. Get to the point of what action you want your legislator to do or not to do and on what specific house bill (HR) or senate Bill (S). Ask the legislator how they stand on the issue and if you can count on their support. You can also request a response.
Offer any history of the bill like who sponsored it and where it is today in the process like in committee or on the floor for a vote.
Make it yours by describing how the bill affects you personally and why it is important for your representative to support you. In your closing, thank the legislator for taking the time to read your letter.
Dear Senator or Representative (Last Name),
As an avid motorcyclist I am contacting you as my State Senator from Arizona and asking you to support SB2210 which is purposed legislation to eliminate the loophole in the HIPAA Act which allows insurance companies to deny health coverage to victims of motorcycle accidents. I would very much like to know your position on SB2210 and specifically if I can count on your support.
Senator Joe Thumb, the bill sponsor, had this to say, “No one should be denied health insurance benefits because they prefer to drive a motorcycle. It is essential to provide health care benefits to those who have slipped through the loophole by protecting their access to substantive health care.”
I use my motorcycle as transportation to work and back as does my wife on occasion. We also use our motorcycles to travel the great state of Arizona and beyond. We would greatly appreciate your support in this effort to correct a loophole in an otherwise good piece of legislation.
I will send a letter to your office in Phoenix to follow up on this email.
Thank you for your consideration on this very important matter and warmest regards from (Your Home Town), Arizona,
(Your Full Name)
(Your City, State and Zip code)
(You’re Voter Registration #)