Why should you contact your elected officials?
- This is a great way to introduce yourself, begin building a relationship, and provide information on the issues you care about.
- Lawmakers will read, and usually respond to, written communication – and it helps them connect policy issues to the people and communities they impact
Writing to your legislator: Top tips
- Make it as personalized as possible! Tell your story about why the topic matters to you. Lawmakers work on a lot of different issues – this will make your issue memorable and human.
- Include a clear ask – what do you want the lawmaker to do after reading your message?
- If you’re writing about a specific bill, be sure to include the LD number of the bill and its current status.
- Keep it short and to the point! A clear and concise message is most effective. Discuss the issue, why it’s important to you, and what action you want the lawmaker to take.
Structure of a message to your legislator
- Introduce yourself and identify yourself as a constituent. This is also a good time to explain why the issue is important to you. For example: My name is _____ and I live on ___ Street in Topsham, Maine. I’m a young person concerned about the future, which is why I am writing to you in support of clean energy for Maine.
- Briefly explain your purpose – what cause are you writing to advocate for?
- Your elected officials should know how concerned you are about the specific advocacy issue and that you are paying attention to their actions and leadership. By sharing your story you are showing them that you will hold them accountable to take meaningful action.
- You don’t need to share something deeply personal for your message to be meaningful. The most important thing is that you are showing your elected officials that you care about the issue and that it impacts you or your community.
- The easiest way to personalize this is to describe the impact a problem has for you or a way a solution would make your life easier. Being able to show examples of impacts on your health, out-of-pocket costs you have to pay, or how a bill would create job opportunities for you or your community are some examples. Being able to put the decision-maker in your shoes is how they will understand your why. Example: I am asking for your support for clean energy because, as a young person, I want to be sure the planet is liveable for my generation and all the ones that come after.
- End with an ask: After sharing your story with your elected official, end with an action ask. The most effective “asks” are ones that have a “yes” or “no” answer. This could be anything from setting up a constituent meeting to supporting policies to advance clean energy. Tailor your ask to what makes the most sense for your cause. When in doubt, reach out to MCA or other local partners to ask them how they are approaching issues that you care about.
How to reach your elected officials
- Use your address to find all of your elected officials at https://ballotpedia.org/Who_represents_me
- Find your state legislators’ contact information here: https://legislature.maine.gov/house/house/MemberProfiles/ListDistrict
Hello [elected official],
My name is [name here] and I am [calling/writing] in support of 100% clean energy by 2040 for Maine.
I am concerned about the public health and economic impacts of climate change. Committing our community to clean energy can create good paying jobs, save money in the long term, and provide a healthier place for residents to live.
As a young person, I’m excited about the opportunity for our state to be a leader in combating the climate crisis while creating new jobs in the clean energy industry that will allow more young people like me to stay in Maine.
Will you support 100% clean energy for Maine?
I look forward to hearing from you and can best be reached at [email address or phone number].
All my best,