Letter to Legislator
It’s not uncommon to hear Americans discuss their rights as U.S. citizens. But do Americans have the rights they claim to have? What is the government supposed to provide? Which level of government, federal or state, is responsible for what? What responsibilities do citizens have to the government? These are questions that are important to social workers. Social work practice influences policy and policy influences social work practice.
Writing a letter to your legislator about an issue important to you is a great way to become involved in legislative advocacy. Effective letters are rarely over two pages in length and are concise as well as constructive. A typical letter will describe the issue, the current law.
Identify an existing policy or a proposed policy at the local, state, or national level.
Identify an existing law or a proposed bill that is linked to this policy.
Record relevant information about the policy in as complete a form as possible. For a bill, this includes the bill number and title. For an existing law or act, this includes the complete name of the law.
For example, you may have heard of a “504 plan,” but referring to a “504” is shorthand. The full title of the act is: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Be prepared to write a summary of the policy that is separate from the letter.
Consider the audience of your letter—someone who is familiar with the policy. Demonstrate that you know what the act contains in relation to what you are advocating for or against. However, you do not need to summarize the policy in the letter the way you do for your Instructor.
Tip: Write the summary before you write the letter. This will help ensure that you know the key points to raise in your letter
Write a 2-page advocacy letter that will be sent via mail or e-mail to a public official supporting or opposing a policy under consideration at the local, state, or national level.
Your letter should be single-spaced. Although your academic papers are normally double-spaced, your letter should follow the form of a standard business letter.
Address your letter to the appropriate government representative.
Identify an existing law or a proposed bill associated with the policy issue and be sure to note the bill number and title or the official name of the law in the letter.
Be specific but brief so the letter recipient is very clear, as soon as possible, about what she or he is reading.
State your position on the policy, law, and/or bill.
Again, be specific but succinct.
Provide a brief rationale for your position.
Use your knowledge of the policy to stake out one to three concrete examples of why you are advocating for your position.
Conclude by informing the representative of steps you’d like to see taken to address this issue.
Write a 1-page summary of the policy and related law or bill that you have written about in your letter.
This is separate from your letter—it is for your Instructor and not for the letter recipient.
On a final page, include a reference list. Use APA style to list your references.
This list can include any newspaper articles, local publications like pamphlets, a government representative’s website that states a position, etc., that helped you to learn about the policy.
Letter to Legislator It’s not uncommon to hear Americans discuss their rights as
Letter to Legislator