Contact Your Elected Officials
Contacting your elected officials is an important way consumers can let their voices be heard about health care concerns and reform issues. How should you begin? It is easy! Start with USA.gov to find federal and state officials. If you aren’t sure who the elected officials are in your district, you can find out here.
State Elected Officials
Legislators usually respond to emails and letters from their own constituents and prefer personal letters as opposed to form letters from public polls. Even if the email never goes beyond a legislative staffers desk, they are all logged into a system which allows the legislator to review their constituents' support or concern about an issue in broad trends.
The House Health and Government Operations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee are the committees in the Maryland General Assembly that frequently hear and make decisions about health care related issues. It is useful to develop lines of communication with legislators on these committees and their staffs.
Federal Elected Officials
You can also contact your federal officials about key health policy issues. There are several ways to contact officials at the federal level.
Call, fax, or e-mail your comments about a particular health care issue to the White House: phone: (202) 456-1111; fax: (202) 456-2461; e-mail: President@WhiteHouse.gov.
Representative or Senator
- Write or call your members of Congress. To reach Washington, DC Capitol Hill Offices, call (202) 224-3121. Phone calls have been determined the most effective way to communicate with your Representatives.
- E-mail can also be an effective way to communicate with representatives in Congress and other appointed and elected officials. E-mail addresses can be found online at http://www.senate.gov/ or http://www.house.gov/.
- Follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Reply to their posts and tweets. Use @theirname when writing tweets to get their attention.
- Set up a meeting with your Representative or Senator during one of their home visits to discuss your community or issues of specific concern. Be prepared to provide reasonable and actionable strategies for your Congressperson to consider.
- Develop lines of communication with congressional staff who oversee the office's health policy and public health initiatives. Calling the office of your Representative or Senator is FAR more effective than email or paper mail. Those messages and voice mails get passed directly on to them. Email and letters are usually handled by staff members.
- When writing members of the U.S. Congress, it is usually best:
- to write a postcard. Letters get held for 3 days for anthrax screening.
- to write only to the Representatives and Senators from your district or state. Mass-mailings to all Members of Congress rarely have much impact.