How You Can Impact the Political Process
Citizens can impact the political process from the formation of the initial idea, through the posting of a bill, to the passing of the law, to the implementation of the regulations. This process happens daily at the national, state, and local level.
Usually, finding out who your legislators are is an easy process. At the federal level, you can access that information by going to www.senate.gov or www.house.gov. By typing in your state or zip code, you will get the name and contact information for your senators or representative. There is a similar search engine available for state legislatures as well.
Since the 9/11 tragedy and more recent mail scares in Washington, D.C., the telephone and email are the preferred methods to contact your legislators. While writing letters is still a very personal approach, it is not a very timely form of communication due to recent mail security screening procedures.
Legislators can be contacted at their Washington, D.C. office or their local offices. Telephone calls can be more effective when the contact is made through the local office.
- Identify yourself, indicating that you are a constituent and a health care provider.
- Express your concern about a specific issue or bill.
- Keep you conversation brief.
- Answer any questions that may be posed and offer to find out if you don’t know the answer. Do not be confrontational.
- Ask for a reply from the legislator about how they intend to vote. Provide your mailing address.
- On the subject line, identify the issue or the bill’s number, if known.
- Identify yourself as a constituent and a health care provider.
- Express your concern. Indicate why you support or oppose the issue. Stress how the issue affects the people with whom you work.
- Keep your message short (less than one screen).
- Ask for a response that clearly states the legislator's position on the issue and how they intend to vote.
- If they support your view, you should send a follow-up "thank you." If they do not support your position, you should send an email expressing your disappointment.