Contacting Your Legislators 101
Every so often during the session, Forward Montana puts out a call to action asking you to get in touch with your legislators on a particular bill that could either harm or help young Montanans. Contacting your legislators is a way to build relationships over time with the people who represent you, and it also holds them accountable. Talking to your legislators is a direct way to impact the policies that affect our lives and we’ve provided some tips below to get you started. You might choose to get in touch via email, a phone call, or even a handwritten letter. You can also use this form on the MT Legislative website to keep it simple!
You can look up who your senators and representatives are, and find their contact info, here.
Tips for composing your message:
- Start your message by letting your legislator know you’re their constituent. That’s a fancy way of saying that you have the power to vote them out. Frankly, legislators are more likely to listen to constituents. They represent you, and should care about what you have to say. Most of them do!
- If commenting on a bill, refer to it by its specific name and sponsor. There are a ton of bills for your lawmakers to review — let them know exactly what’s included in the bill and how you’d like them to vote.
- Make it specific and personal. How does the bill affect your life? Does it impact your job, education, family, personal life? A few well-placed statistics don’t hurt, but make sure you cite your sources.
- Keep it brief. Your legislators are busy. You don’t like lectures and neither do they. Getting to the point will hold their attention.
- Thank you goes a long way. Thank you notes and messages remind your legislators you’re paying attention and commend them for the good work they do. Make sure to thank them after the fact if they vote the way you asked them to. Montana legislators work hard and deserve to be appreciated.