Want to Know How to Contact Your State Representatives? It’s Easier Than You Think.

If you’ve been on social media recently, you may have seen calls to action telling you to contact our state representatives to voice your opinion. If you’re new to being a registered voter, your representatives are the state officials that are responsible for representing the interests of your state in the House of Representatives and the Senate, making up the American Congress. 

Not a registered voter yet? Find out how to register HERE.

For the senate, each state has two senators. The state representatives are based on population, which can range from 1-53 depending on the state. 

How do I know who my representatives are? 

You can find your state representatives and senators through your state’s government home page, or you can search USAGov

Using this website, you can narrow the search down to officials from your state that align with your political views or find the specific representatives for your district regardless of political alignment. You can also use this website to contact your President, Governor, State Legislator, Mayor, County Executive, or even city/county/town officials. When you search for the person you want to reach, their phone number and email will be listed for you to use when contacting them. 

Now that I know who to contact, what do I do? 

There are many reasons to contact your state officials, but the biggest is to contact them in support of or against a specific issue. It is important before you make your call or email to see what a sample script for these types of calls is and make a script for yourself. Organizations like 5 Calls make sample scripts for you to read when you make your call. You should try to add a personal element to the call, whether that is a personal experience or simply the reason why you are affected enough to make this call. When you have compiled your script and your personal elements, you’re ready to make contact. 

I’m phone-shy, am I going to talk to a real person? 

It is unlikely that your call will be picked up by a real person, though if you are calling your official’s local or campaign office there is a possibility you will get the opportunity to talk to a volunteer or staff member. If that is the case, take a deep breath and talk to them about why you are calling. Explain your personal connection to the issue and treat the person on the other end of the line with respect. They will catalog your call and thank you for your feedback. 

What should I expect as I make this call? 

I made my first ever state rep call while writing this article to give you a feel for what to expect. I contacted Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) on the issue of Coronavirus Relief Funds. I used 5 Calls to generate a script for myself, wrote my personal experience of need during this pandemic on a sticky note by my keyboard, and typed the number into my phone. I was given a list of options, the first option being to leave a voicemail with a comment on a current issue. Senator Stabenow’s recording gave me the option to leave my full name and address in order to get a personalized reply from her office, but I chose not to give that information. When the beep happened, I followed my script and then added my personal anecdote at the end. The entire call took less than 5 minutes. Sure, I was nervous and stumbled over my words a little. But with practice, it could become much easier. With 5 Calls, when you complete one call, you click what kind of response you were able to give, and the site shows the next official’s number with your script! You could make the rounds of all your officials for one topic in less than an hour. 

I’ve contacted my state officials, should I contact ones in other states? 

While it might seem to be a good idea, you should only contact the representatives of your state (unless you reside in multiple states). There are certain cases where your call will be discounted because you do not live in that state, and the lines of communication should be kept open for citizens of that state to voice their concerns. You should look for other ways to be an activist for causes in other states, the local social organizations for that state will have information for how to get involved. 

Can I email my officials as well as call?

Yes. You can call the local offices as well as the offices in Washington D.C., you can email your thoughts, and you can even send paper letters. With email or paper letters, you should prioritize writing the personal connection to the issue you are writing to your official about. Your official deserves to know how you, their constituent, feels about the topic. 

I’m ready to contact my representatives!

Great! Good luck on all your calls. Be sure to spread the word about how to contact your officials, set up a phone date with your friends, and call your representatives together. There are even local organizations like Indivisible who make specialized calls to action and need constituents to help them make calls with their message. No matter what issue you are contacting your elected officials about, contacting their offices is the best way to get your voice heard.