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Do you really want to be heard and have an impact on the issues that affect our
rights to use our public lands?  One of the best ways to do this is to write a
letter to your elected officials who make (or change) the laws governing our
public lands. 

What better way to learn how to write a Congressman than from a Congressman!  Below is an article published by Congressman Morris Udall, longstanding member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Congressman Udall's article provides invaluable insight to the things that "turn on" and "turn off" elected officials when they receive letters from their constituents (YOU).  If we are to be effective in our efforts to forestall restrictive legislation, policies, and regulations, then we must be effective and dynamic written communicators!  Use Congressman Udall's advice in writing to your State and Federal elected representatives!

The Right to Write
 by Morris K. Udall, Member, U.S. Congress

Some Suggestions on Writing to Your Representatives in Congress

Surprisingly few people ever write to their United States senators or congressional representatives. Perhaps ninety percent of our citizens live and die without ever taking pen in hand and expressing a single opinion to the people who represent them in Congress. This reluctance to communicate results from the typical and understandable feeling that legislators have no time or inclination to read their mail, that a letter probably won't be answered or answered satisfactorily, that one letter won't make any difference anyway. Based on my own experience, and speaking for myself at least, I can state flatly that these notions are wrong.

I read every letter written to me by a constituent. A staff member may process it initially, but it will be answered, and I will insist on reading it and personally signing the reply. On several occasions, a single, thoughtful, factually persuasive letter did change my mind or cause me to initiate a review of a previous judgment. Nearly every day my faith is renewed by one or more informative and helpful letters giving me a better understanding of the thinking of my constituents.

Mail to modern-day members of Congress is more important than ever before. In the days of Clay, Calhoun, Webster and Lincoln, members of Congress lived among their constituents for perhaps nine months of the year. Through daily contacts with constituencies of less than 50,000 people (I represent a least ten times that many), they could feel rather completely informed about their constituents' beliefs and feelings. Today, with the staggering problems of government and increasingly long sessions of Congress, senators and representatives must not only vote on many more issues than early-day members, but rarely get to spend more than sixty days in their districts. Thus, their mailbags are their bests "hot lines" to the people back home.

Some Fundamentals

Do's

Don'ts

Your senators and representatives need your help in casting votes.  The "ballot box" is not far away: it's painted red, white and blue and it reads "U.S. Mail."

Morris Udall
US House of Representatives

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