Knowing how to write an effective letter of support or opposition determines whether it ends up in a Member’s Floor or Committee file or the dreaded ROUND FILE. Follow these easy steps to make the most impact, whether you send a letter by email, fax or snail mail:
- If you want your letter to be included in the Member’s Floor or Committee packet – or if you want to be included in the official analysis of being in support or opposition to a particular bill, it is imperative that the letter be received at least one full week before the bill is heard. Check the GOC website for current bill status and hearing dates.
- Address the government official correctly; see below for a sample template.
- The letter should be typed; if this is not possible, make certain your handwriting is legible.
- Make your position clear. You will get more traction if you know the particular bill number and are accurate.
- There is nothing wrong with restating information so long it comes from reliable sources, but make the letter reflect your individual views. A form letter does not convey sincerity. Give your own personal experience to support your request. Briefly, state how the issue will affect you, your family, your community, etc.
- Be polite and professional.
- Ask the official to state his/her position on the issue in a reply to you.
- Sign your full name and address so the legislator or other government official can reply to you.
The Honorable John Smith
(or Assemblymember/Senator John Smith or Governor John Smith)
State Capitol (room numbers are not needed)
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Assemblymember/or Senator Smith:
I am writing in opposition to SB XX, which (provide brief summary of the bill)…
I oppose/support this legislation because…(state your views).
I appreciate your consideration of my opinions and look forward to receiving a response.