Home > Column, Local Government, State Government > Emailing your elected official

Emailing your elected official

Bookmark and Share

It’s the time of year when legislators’ email inboxes are overflowing with requests to vote one way or another. Email provides immediate access and it’s probably the best way to share your opinion with your elected official. However, through the next few weeks as the session comes to an end, state representatives will receive hundreds of emails. It can be rather difficult for a constituent to ensure his representative doesn’t lose the email in the shuffle.

State Reprenstative Jason Murphey

State Reprenstative Jason Murphey

I have a few tips for making sure your voice is heard.

First and foremost, always identify yourself as a constituent of the representative and include your street address beneath your signature. 

We receive many emails from people who are emailing all the representatives. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it makes it much more difficult to sort through responses from all areas of the state to find our constituent emails. We are particularly interested in the emails from our district, because those are the people we represent, so those are the emails we look for.

At times, mass emails are designed to make each representative think that the email originates from a local constituent. These emails may contain text such as, “As a constituent, I request for you to vote against House Bill 1001!” Of course, the writer is a constituent of someone, so this statement isn’t incorrect, but it is misleading to all but one state representative. The reader still does not know if this is really a constituent or not.

The following statement will be much more effective at catching the elected official’s attention: “As your constituent, please honor my request to support House Bill 1001.” An actual address placed under the signature of the writer provides a substantive verification of the writer’s claim to live within the district. Many elected officials are extremely familiar with their districts and upon viewing the address, they will quickly understand where the writer lives.

We also receive many emails from petition services which allows the sender to submit his point of view on important issues. Oftentimes these services provide the sender with a form letter to send. It’s much more effective if the sender forgoes the standard form letter and instead inserts his own text. A form email prevents us from gauging the intensity of the writer on a particular matter. A customized message tells us about the writer’s true point of view.

There’s also an effective means to express opposition to an elected official’s proposals. Too often, writers take an aggressive stance which may cause the elected official to disengage completely from meaningful dialog. It is much more effective when opposition is accompanied by positivity. For example, here is part of one of my favorite emails which I received from a writer who opposed one of my bills, House Bill 3028:

“I still recall the young man who came to my door, shook my hand, and asked for support as he tried to bring good thinking and good government to Oklahoma. I also remember always being very proud that you were my representative each year when the Daily Oklahoman listed you as the house member who took the LEAST amount from lobbyist. In fact, I have used you as an example of how representatives should behave on more than one occasion when speaking with friends and to groups. I want you to know that I still believe in what you represented and, hopefully, still do. Regardless of how HB 3028 progresses, my opinion of your accomplishments will not change. All I ask is that you do what’s best for all Oklahomans and not what’s best for the political agenda of EITHER party. I think that includes defeating HB 3028.”

Despite this writer’s strong opposition to my proposal, you can be sure that I read his entire email and put a lot of stock in his opinion because of his kind words.

It’s important for elected officials to read and respond to each constituent’s email and I hope this article has been helpful in providing a few tips to get through to your elected officials.

Thank you for reading this article. Your interest and input are much appreciated. Please do not hesitate to email Jason.Murphey@hd31.orgwith your thoughts and suggestions. 

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Share Your Comments

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: