The websites below are a great place to start for a dialogue with your elected official:
· For Virginia General Assembly members: https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov
· For the U.S. House of Representatives: https://www.house.gov.
· For the U.S. Senate: https://www.senate.gov/senators
These sites operate similarly – enter your address or zip code, and your elected official is revealed, usually with a link to their website. At the website, click on the “contact” link where you’ll fill out a contact form - name, address, phone number, etc. Then there’ll be a space for you to state your message, and specify whether you want a response to your concerns. You’ll also find links nearby to subscribe to the officeholder’s newsletters and e-mail updates.
Some tips for contacting your lawmaker via their website:
· Draft your message ahead of time and then copy and paste it into the space allotted at the website.
· Keep your message concise, fact-based, professional, and snark-free.
· Always request a response. This ensures that someone in the office read your message.
· Subscribe to the newsletters and e-mail updates. Use these to keep apprised of each official’s political priorities and activities, and to provide critical or favorable feedback.
The telephone is another option and is especially useful when a vote is upcoming for your elected official. Call your legislator’s office, identify yourself as a constituent, and state to the aide or staff member that you want it registered that in your opinion the legislator should do X or Y. You can find your legislators’ phone numbers via the websites listed above.
In either case – website or telephone, legislator staff members are supposed to track the number of messages they receive on various topics, and these can help sway the thinking of lawmakers.