Local Officials

Tips for Writing to an Elected Official

The letter is a direct way to communicate with any elected official. When writing a letter, this list of suggestions will improve its effectiveness:

  • Individually-written letters, rather than mass-generated form letters, make a greater impression on your legislator. Type your name, address, and phone number at the top.
  • Most state legislatures are only in session part of the year. When the legislature is out of session, it may be more effective to send your letter to your legislator’s district office.
  • Addressing correspondence to your state legislators:
    • To a State Senator:
      The Honorable (Full Name)
      State House, (Room Number)
      Wisconsin Assembly
      Madison, WI 53701
    • To a State Assembly person:
      The Honorable (Full Name)
      State House, (Room Number)
      Wisconsin Senate
      Madison, WI 53701
  • Be specific. Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, be sure to identify its full name and number, e.g. Assembly Bill: A_____, Senate Bill: S_____. Try to send your letter while the issue is still alive.
  • State your position. Explain why you support or oppose this particular issue. Keep in mind that local examples concerning the impact of this legislation are very powerful. Be courteous and to the point, keeping your letter focused on one issue.
  • Ask for a response. Indicate to your legislator that you would appreciate a reply containing his/her position on the issue. “Sincerely yours” is a proper way to conclude your letter.
  • Follow up. If you agree with your legislator’s vote, take the time to let him/her know that. Similarly, if you disagree with his or her vote, inform your legislator.

Tips for Calling an Elected Official

To find your state legislator’s phone number, you may use our searchable online state legislature directory or call Wisconsin’s state switchboard at 608-266-9960 and ask for your Senator and/ or Representative’s office.

If you are trying to reach your state legislator, keep in mind that calls are often taken by a staff member and not the actual legislative member. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue to which you wish to comment. If they are not available, you may also leave a message. If you speak with someone other than your legislator, take down their name and title. Also, remember that most state legislatures are only in session part-time, so try to get the number for your legislator’s district office.

Upon reaching your elected official on the phone, it’s easiest to follow these four basic steps:

  • IDENTIFY yourself by name and the organization (if any) that you represent or the town from which you are calling.
  • EXPLAIN why you are calling: “I am calling to support/oppose Assembly Bill: A_____, Senate Bill: S_____. ” Be polite and concise. Creating 1 or 2 talking points will focus the content of your message. Too much information may confuse your message. Ask your legislator his/her position on this issue. Don’t assume that your legislator has prior knowledge of your issue. Be calm, respectful, and be prepared to educate, using local examples to accentuate your point.
  • REQUEST a written response to your phone call if you did not speak to your legislative member. If the legislator requires further information, provide it as soon as possible.
  • THANK the person who took the phone call for their time and consideration.

Find Your Representatives

City of Madison

Dane County

State of Wisconsin

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