Chabot College

Writing Letters to your Elected State Representative

Writing a letter is one of the most effective ways we can communicate with our elected officials. Most representatives and senators tally handwritten letters from their constituents to gauge public opinion, so the more letters we write, the greater influence we have.

Here are a few tips for writing an effective letter to your representative:

Be personal. A mailed handwritten letter attracts greater attention than does a preprinted letter or card, or email. Be sure to include your postal address on both your envelope and letter so your member of Congress can know you are a constituent.

Be concise. Express your request clearly in one or two paragraphs

Request specific action. Make a specific request when you write. You may want a decision changed, a vote cast in a certain way, or to communicate specific facts, but be clear about what you want.

Be courteous. Rude comments in your letter make it less effective. You can be firm while still being courteous.

Utiliize letters-to-the-editor. If you get a letter-to-the-editor printed, send a copy from the newspaper to policymakers.

Sign your letters. Include your name, address and telephone number, so the policymaker can respond to your concerns.

Contact your representatives and make your voice heard.

Governor Gray Davis

State Capitol

Sacramento, CA 95814


To find the address and phone number of your local state senator and assemblyperson, go to the internet site: and type in your zip code.



Sample Letter:

Catherine Powell

123 Main Street

Hayward, CA 94545

Senator Liz Figueroa

State Capitol

Room 4061

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Senator Figueroa,

††††††††††† I urge you to do everything in your power to stop the proposed budget cuts to Californiaís community colleges. Hundreds of thousands of students will be severely impacted if Governor Davisí proposed budget cuts are implemented.

I am a student at Chabot College in Hayward. In January, I tried to enroll in Italian IB, a class needed for my major. The class was cancelled due to budget cuts. I was scrambling to find another class to make up the units, but all the classes I tried to take were full. Now I will not be able to transfer to UC San Diego in the fall as I had planned. This is not an isolated incident. Hundreds of other Chabot College students have had similar experiences.

This must stop! Please use your power and influence, as my elected representative, to stop these proposed cuts.



Catherine Powell