Speak up!


Write on your personal or business letterhead, if possible, and sign your name over your typed signature at the end of your message. Be sure to include your exact return address on the letter, not just the envelope. Envelopes sometimes get thrown away by staff before the letter is answered.

Legislators want to know your own thoughts and opinions. A former Congressman once said, “Your letter, if routine, will get routine treatment. But if it is special for whatever reason, it will deserve and get special treatment.”

The following are some letter writing best practices:

  • Make sure the legislator knows this communication is from a constituent who lives and/or does business in his/her district.
  • If possible, begin the letter by thanking the legislator for previous support of important legislation. Too often, legislators only hear criticism. Compliments make them more receptive.
  • State your point early in the letter. A sharply focused letter regarding a single issue yields better results.
  • Explain how the proposed legislation affects your business, and why you support/ oppose it.
  • Don’t attempt to give “expert” opinions. Tell how the legislation would affect your business, based on your experience and knowledge.
  • Refer to bill numbers whenever possible. This helps the legislator and staff quickly identify the specific issue. Using bill numbers also shows that you understand the legislative process.
  • Ask for the legislator’s support or opposition.
  • Write the letter in your own words and avoid copying verbatim any association provided background information.
  • Request that your legislator take a specific action by telling him/her what you desire. State the facts as you see them. Avoid emotional arguments. Keep all communications friendly and respectful. Be sure to thank your legislator for considering your views.

After the bill comes for a vote, write a second letter thanking the legislator for his/her support. This acknowledgment encourages continued assistance in the future.

Legislative addresses can be easily found on www.ilga.gov. Simply use the drop down menu at the top for “House” or “Senate” then select “Members.” You should easily find all the contact information by selecting your desired official in the alphabetized list. Be sure to address your letters in the following format:

State Representative
The Honorable John Doe
State Capitol
Room ###
Springfield, IL 62701
Dear Representative Doe:

State Senator
The Honorable Jane Doe
State Capitol
Room ###
Springfield, IL 62701
Dear Senator Doe: