Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey

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Write, Call, or Visit Your Legislator

Write     Call     Visit

Write to Your Legislator

Letters

Finding your Legislators' addresses is easy with Planned Parenthood's Legislative Directory, or go to www.njleg.state.nj.us or call N.J. Legislative Information and Bill Room at (800) 792-8630.

Personal letters from constituents are more effective than generic form letters. A thoughtful polite three-paragraph letter can be used to make a case for your position on an issue. It will be more personal if you use your own stationary and be sure to include your name and home address.

1. Be clear, use the first line of your letter to state your position. If you are writing in reference to a particular bill, be sure to use the bill number.

2. Give your legislator a reason to support your position. If possible, let your legislator know what this issue means to the district or New Jersey. If you have a special expertise or interest in the issue, share it. Be brief; choose one or two facts to support your position.

3. Restate your request for support of your position. Ask for a response.

Use the following salutations when writing to your legislator:

New Jersey Legislature
Honorable [ Name ]
Address
Dear Senator/Assemblyman/woman

US Congress
Honorable [ Name ]
Address
Dear Senator/Assemblyman/woman

Governor
Honorable [ Name ]
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 001
State House
Trenton, NJ 08625
Dear Governor [ Name ]

President
The President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20050
Dear Mr./Ms. President

 

E-Mail

Use the legislative directory to find your Legislators' e-mail addresses.

When composing an email, follow the same rules for letter writing. Be polite and to the point.

Most legislators discount e-mail that is not from their constituents, so be sure to include your name and address. While e-mail is a fast and easy way to communicate, a letter or a phone call are still the most effective ways to communicate with elected officials

 

Call Your Legislator

Finding your Legislators' phone numbers is easy with the legislative directory.

Phone calls to legislators from constituents can be simple and effective.

Here are some tips:

1. Take a few moments to prepare for the call. You should have the bill number or the name of the bill and be able to briefly state the reason for your position on the issue. Remember you are calling to persuade, so always be polite.

2. If your legislator agrees with your position on the bill, thank her/him for their support.

3. Don't expect to speak to the legislator; usually you will only be able to leave a message for her/him with the receptionist or the legislative aide.

3. Be prepared to give your name and address.

4. If there is time send a follow up letter to reinforce you interest or concern.

Sample phone call script to legislator:

Issue: Emergency Contraception in the Emergency Room

" Hello, is Representative/Senator ____________ there?"
(If the legislator is there, ask to speak to him/her directly. If not leave a message with her/his secretary or aide).

"My name is ___________, I'm a voter in the ______ district.
I am calling to ask Representative/Senator ____________ to support emergency contraception in the emergency room. Please let Representative/Senator ____________ know that I want to see an established protocol throughout New Jersey that provides emergency contraception as an option to any victim of sexual assault that seeks treatment in a hospital emergency room."

"Would you like my address and the correct spelling of my name?
Thank you for your time..."

A follow up letter is also helpful if there is time before the issue is voted on.

 

Visit Your Legislator

In order to make a legislative visits most effective, be well prepared!
If you are interested in visiting your legislator as part of a PPCNJ Delegation, please contact PPCNJ's Public Information Director at choice@ppcnj.org or by phone at 732-842-9300.

Here are a few tips for legislative visits:

1. Call as early as possible to schedule your visit. Be prepared to let the legislative aide know the purpose for your visit.

2. Take time to prepare for the visit. Review available information regarding the issue. Outline what you want to say, and list the points you want to make. Determine exactly what action you want your legislator to take. Try to find out the legislator's position on the issue ahead of time, and plan your strategy with that in mind.

3. Most NJ State Legislators will want to meet in their District Office as they do not all have offices in Trenton.

4. Be prompt and plan to finish within the time period allotted for the visit. You will have limited time, so keep the agenda focused on your primary issue.

5. Make sure you share your special expertise or interest in the issue. Legislators do not respond well to demands or threats but to the personal stories and needs of their constituents.

6. If the issue you wish to talk about is complicated, or there are a number of statistics or facts that will support your position, bring along a short (one page) summary of your position on the issue.

7. Always send a thank you letter as a follow up to a legislative visit. If your legislator made a commitment in the course of the meeting that supports your position, be sure to thank her/him for the commitment. Or if you promised to send additional information, be sure to send it right away.