Contacting your Legislator

You may be surprised to know that legislators seldom hear from constituents - the people that live in their districts. If you send a letter or make a phone call, they will pay attention. If a number of you contact a legislator, they really pay attention.

You want your legislator to know that you support or oppose a bill (or an idea). You call his or her office. You will probably talk to an assistant first, but sometimes the legislator picks up. Then you tell them what you want to tell them.

Here's an example. MEEDAH tells you that Senate File 278 is a very good bill because it should reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals. You call your State Senator and say, "I urge you to support SF 278. I understand it could reduce pharmaceutical costs." You do not have to know all the details - that's the legislator's job.

If the legislator hears from you, whether by phone or better by letter, he or she will pay more attention. If four or five - or more - call or write about the same subject, the legislator will get nervous and pay close attention. It does not take hundreds - only a handful of concerned citizens can make the difference.

Here's another example. You call your legislator and say, "I am really concerned about the high cost of health insurance. We can't afford it anymore. I urge you to fix this, now not later." In other words, express an idea. You don't have to know the solution to the problem, but you want the legislator to know you expect action.

You are in charge

Legislators work for you. They actually like it when you call and give your opinion. When you can get a lot of others to call their legislators, it can have a positive effect that changes laws for the good.

Just keep in mind, even when the legislator is from the "other party," you have the right to express your opinion. 

  • Only talk or write about one subject, not a list of things. You can always call again later. 

  • Be civil, not argumentative. Legislators will return your civility, even if they do not agree with you. If the legislator "goes off" on you, take good notes. You might want to help his or her opponent in the next election.

  • Thank the legislator and let him or her know you will be watching - and letting your friends know.

Develop this practice. It can be greatly rewarding. And drop us a note and let us know what happened.

The tool to use

The Minnesota State Legislature's web-page has a finder tool you can use to identify your legislators. Click on the link below and find "Who represents me?" under either the House or Senate. Then enter your street address and hit "GO." You will see their names, faces, and a way to link to their individual web-page. It's simple.