Steal this letter: How to write your legislators


We don’t really want you to steal this letter – but we think it is a fine example of how to craft a message to your legislators. Read our breakdown of why it works, and if you like, click the link below to print. Thanks to Elise Jamison, a member of The House of Hope Prebysterian Church who serves on the Prior Crossing task force, for sharing it.

From: Elise Jamison
Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:58 PM
Cc: Michael Dahl
Subject: Sorry I missed you yesterday

Hello, Rick,

I stopped by the House session yesterday hoping to catch you for a minute to chat about my support of the $100 million allocation in the bonding bill to build and rehab affordable housing for our state’s lowest income citizens. I hope you also support this amount.

The first paragraph identifies the issue she cares about (Bonus: she does this in a non-form-letter way).

Since my term on the District 197 School Board, I have grown in my concern for children and young adults who are homeless. I know you understand the impact homelessness has on children’s ability to reach their educational potential.

I also know many young people in our district who are at risk for homelessness due to mental illness, lack of support in the family or other issues in their lives.

The second and third paragraphs establish her professional and personal credibility. Others could simply use their own personal experience or their congregation’s work with Beacon.

As a member of House of Hope Presbyterian Church, I am on a task force that is working to build a supportive housing project called Prior Crossing, on University and Prior, on the light rail line. This project:

  • Is co-sponsored by House of Hope, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation.
  • Will house 44 homeless youth between the ages of 18 and 23
  • Provides jobs for all residents as well as support for job skills and educational pursuits
  • Is a safe community for young people to forge relationships and gain independence.

She uses the fourth paragraph to detail her work with Beacon … others can fill in their experience.

As a constituent, I hope you will support $100 million in funding for competitive projects in this year’s bonding bill.

The fifth paragraph crisply states the specific request: “I hope you will support $100 million in funding for competitive projects this year.”

I will reach out again in the next few weeks to see where things are. In the meantime, I’d appreciate you letting me know where you stand on this issue.

She ends the letter noting that she will follow up with the legislator …this statement promotes accountability.

Thank you!


Elise Jamison
1234 Mainstreet
St. Paul Suburb, MN ZIP

Download this letter and the instructive points here.