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Contacting Congress


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Contacting your Representative and Senators in the United States Congress is an integral part of democracy. Thousands of people bring their concerns to Congress every day. This includes people concerned about various health care issues from research to prevention to programs like Medicare.

Most members of Congress have never heard from a citizen of their community about women's heart disease and the increasing risk of early heart disease in our children due to obesity and unhealthy lifestyles. It may be that women caregivers and their families don't know how to become active in getting the attention from the government that this disease deserves. We're here to help.

Where to Start?

Congress receives many proposals requesting funding or policies to be passed for various causes. Even if a proposal is solid and backed by science, it may not get the attention it needs unless members of Congress hear from you, their constituents.

Find a Congress Member:

Find detailed information about your Representative and Senators through the Contacting the Congress website.

Read more about the U.S. Senate at their website.

Read more about the U.S. House of Representatives at their website.

Find a Legislative Bill in Congress:
The Library of Congress tracks bills that are introduced in Congress.

Communicate with Congressional Staff

Members of Congress want to know what you want them to do. Be as specific as possible. Here are some general tips on communicating your message:

When Calling:

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Telephone calls are often taken not by a member of Congress, but by staff members who are trained and prepared to respond to your concerns. After identifying yourself, ask to speak with the Congressional aide who handles the issue about which you wish to comment. For example, if you wish to comment on obesity, ask for the staff person who works on health issues.

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Tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as: "Please tell Senator / Representative (Name) that I support / oppose legislative bill number (S.____/H.R.____)."

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You may also want to state reasons for your support or opposition to the bill. Ask for your Representative or Senator's position on the bill. You may then want to follow up your call with a letter thanking the staff person and repeating your version of the conversation.

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If the staff person was very helpful, write their boss and tell them so. (The staff member will never forget you!)

When Writing:

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The letter is the most popular choice of communication with a congressional office. If you decide to write a letter, this list of suggestions can help improve its effectiveness:

 

Address only one issue in each letter; and if possible, keep the letter short.

Open your letter with Dear Senator or Dear Representative. 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 Mr. Speaker

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 (For example, a House bill may look like this: H.R. 5555, or a Senate bill: S. 5555)

Be courteous, to the point, and include key information, using examples to support your position.

If applicable, suggest they contact a specific government agency or organization, like AOA, for more detailed information.

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The Mailing address for a Senator is:

The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

 

The Mailing address for a Representative is:

The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515


Sending E-mail:

All Members of Congress now have e-mail. However, keep in mind that many offices receive literally thousands of e-mails through organized grass roots campaigns, and often Congressional offices do not have the staff to sort through all the e-mail.

 

   

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1999-2000; updates: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 Women's Heart Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited. The information contained in this Women's Heart Foundation (WHF) Web site is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and WHF recommends consultation with your doctor or health care professional.