You can write to your Senator and Delegate on behalf of your agency or as a constituent. If you write on behalf of the agency, send your letter on agency letterhead and explain how your work gives you a special understanding of the issue. If you are writing as a constituent, make sure that you DO NOT use agency letterhead and that you DO express your views as your own, not your agency’s. In general, letters sent via mail and fax have more of an impact than those sent by email. Customized, individual letters also have more impact than pre-prepared form letters on which you fill in only your name and address.
Personalize your letter. It gets your legislators’ attention when you give them details about what happens in their district. Tell them about yourself, your agency and the people you serve.
Be concise. Letters to policymakers should be concise, informed and polite. State your purpose in the first paragraph, and don’t exceed one page. If more information is necessary, enclose a fact sheet that gives more information on your position.
Accuracy is key. When writing to your legislator, make sure you are writing to the person who represents your agency’s service area. Otherwise, your letter will not get the attention it needs. If you use statistics, make sure you can back them up. Select statistics that best present your case and can also refute your opposition’s arguments.
Be specific. Include the line item of your budget amendment or the bill number of the legislation about which you are writing. Say whether you support or oppose it and why, and tell them what you want them to do (e.g., support a budget amendment or piece of legislation). Be factual and speak from your own experience and knowledge.
Be respectful. It is important to be respectful even if you disagree with your legislator’s position. This will help you maintain your relationship with your legislators should you seek their assistance in the future.
Send your letter to the General Assembly Building during the Session.
Send Delegates' mail to:
PO Box 406
Richmond, VA 23218
Send Senators' mail to:
General Assembly Building
Richmond, VA 23219
Include your name, address and phone number so that your legislator can respond.
For more information contact Gena Boyle or Kristine Hall at PublicPolicy@vsdvalliance.org E-mail is not a secure form of communication. To ensure confidentiality please call the Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.838.8238 (V/TTY).