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Please note: This is general information on how to communicate with Congress. If expressly authorized, a SWE member may represent the Society, presenting or explaining approved SWE statements or positions. Without this authorization, any statement by a member must be identified as providing a personal viewpoint. Authorization is given only by the President or the Executive Director. Any partisan political activity by any member must be done as a private individual and must not involve SWE directly or indirectly.
Tips on Telephoning Your Representatives
To find your representative's phone number, visit the web sites of the House and Senate respectively (http://www.house.gov and http://www.senate.gov) or you can call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senator's and/or Representative's office.
Remember that telephone calls are often taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue to which you wish to comment.
After identifying yourself as a constituent, tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as: "Please tell Senator/Representative (Name) that I support/oppose (S.___/H.R.___)." You will also want to state reasons for your support or opposition to the bill. Ask for your Senator's or Representative's position on the bill.
You may also request a written response to your telephone call.
Tips on E-mailing Congress
All Members of Congress have now accepted e-mail as a communication tool. It is quickly becoming the preferred way for constituents to communicate with their representatives in Congress. You may find and e-mail your representatives directly from the Write Your Representative page on the House of Representatives web site (which can be found at: http://www.house.gov/writerep/).
Most Members of Congress will not accept e-mail messages from constituents outside their Congressional district. Congressional courtesy dictates that Representatives be given the opportunity to assist their own constituents.
The offices receive thousands of email on a daily basis, and it is very important to send your email in such a way that it doesn't get lost in the masses. Use the same guidelines as if you were writing a letter. The following is a list of helpful suggestions that will help improve the effectiveness of your e-mail:
Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify it accordingly, e.g., House bill: H. R. ____, Senate bill: S.____.
Be courteous, to the point, and include key information, using examples to support your position.
Address only one issue in each e-mail, and help your message concise.
As a security measure, attachments are not allowed on Write Your Representative messages.
Tips on Writing Congress
The letter is still a popular choice of communication with a congressional office. Due to increased security screening of Congressional mail that has taken place since September 11, 2001, however, regular mail delivery to your Member of Congress’s office can take several weeks. If you decide to write a letter, the best delivery method is via fax with a cover letter to the staff person that handles the particular issue.
To a Senator:
The Honorable (full name)
__(Rm.#)__(name of) Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
To a Representative:
The Honorable (full name)
__(Rm.#)__(name of) House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Please note: When writing to the Chair of a Committee or the Speaker of the House, it is proper to address them as: Dear Mr. Chairman or Madam Chairwoman: or Dear Madam Speaker.