Why Write A Letter?
Our government is made up of elected officials. They are elected by adults but represent all who live in the area, including kids. And as we’ve seen with Greta Thunberg, what kids say has a big impact. And the government is listening. By writing a letter to your elected officials you can tell them how you feel about anything that affects your community – including litter and climate change. So today we’re going to go over who your officials are and how to write them a letter.
Who are my elected officials?
This website makes it super easy to find your elected officials - https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
Once you know who your elected officials are you need to decide which ones you plan on writing to. If the problem you are addressing is super local, like trash in a park by your house, you’ll probably want to write your city, county, or town officials. If you are concerned about the litter within the entire city, a mayor is your best bet. If you’re concern is for the entire state then your state governor and state legislators are who you need to write to. And finally, if you’re concerns affect the entire country, then you’ll want to write the president.
Before you write?
-It’s always a good idea to know who you are writing to. Is this person typically for or against the things you are concerned about? What steps have they taken in the past that have helped or hurt your cause. These things are usually pretty easy to find by Googling the person (Making sure the source is reliable!). If you are planning to write to someone in Congress (the House of Representatives or the Senate) you can see how your official voted by going to: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes
-What is their mailing or e-mail address? This can be found through this website: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officialsFirst find who you want to write and click through until you reach there contact page
-What bills, laws, or regulations have already been proposed or are going to be voted on that you support or don’t support. You can see a list of current bills and resolutions here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/
-Do your research on the topic of your concern. Make sure you’re educated so you have plenty of evidence to add to your letter. Always make sure that any research you do is from a reputable and reliable source.
What to include in my letter?
-Who you are
-Facts about the issue you have concerns about
-Bills, laws, and regulations that you support or don’t support and why
-Your opinions and thoughts
-Contact information (with parent permission)
How to structure your letter
-Remember to keep your letter to one page only!
-Tell them who you are, what your concerns are, and what you want to see happen, first. This is a great place to mention any bills or regulations that are currently being voted on that pertain to your topic.
-Give supporting details (2 to 3) about your concerns. This can be facts and statistics, quotes from fellow community members, or your observations.
-Restate your concern and what you want done about it in your last sentence.
-Provide a way for them to contact you (email, phone, address – with permission of your parents)
See our sample letter here: