How to Write a Letter to Your Senator (7 of 3)

I wrote this awhile back when I was working for Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office in San Francisco. I think I just forgot to post it. Enjoy!

I’ve been working in the Senator’s Office for about a month now and I have a bit of advice for constituents writing letters.

NOTE: this advice is designed to help you write a letter which I (the intern will little or no power over what help you get) would respond better to. Following these guidelines will not necessarily help your case. However, most of the suggestions are professional courtesies and are appreciated the world around.

That being said, here are the attributes which make a letter to your Senator do what you want it to:

  1. Make sure to print your name (and all other information you think we might need) clearly.
  2. Place identifying information (Alien Registration Number (aka, A number), Social Security Number, Name, Address, Phone) somewhere near the top of the first page you send us.The best examples of this were always the immigration cases. Bullet points are fine for this kind of information!We use an extensive database which has search boxes, and the easier I can look up your case the more efficiently I get your case into the hands of someone who will try to help you.
  3. Be polite when requesting help from the Senator.By this I mean, if you’re mad, then be mad. It’s your Constitutionally protected right to voice your opinions on the government to the government. But if you want help with a federal agency, it might be better to focus on what you need, rather than how angry you are. Passion is illuminative when controlled. Anger, frustration, resignation, all of these are valid emotions when dealing with federal agencies. However, while I am reading your letter I want to know what we can do for you, not how angry you are at what has not been done for you to date.
  4. Make your request for help succinct, with all facts referenced and all issues voiced in an organized and clear manner.This may mean rewriting your letter several times. The most effective letters, for me, were ones where the complaint was under 5 pages, an where all supporting material (forms, briefs, letters of explanation, previous decisions etc) are neatly attached.Perhaps this method might help: if you are too passionate to be clear about your complaint, try dictating your letter to a friend or relative. Explaining the situation from beginning to end, out loud, to someone else always helps me to congeal my thoughts for a formal presentation.
  5. Document your case.The best case files I have seen were the ones where the first 4 rules were followed and the constituent had put a lot of effort into presenting the best possible case to us. If you have been fighting to keep your home for 4 months, document why you are being foreclosed on, what lender you are working with, what agencies you have already tried, and include a summary of the back story of how you came to not be able to make the payments on your house.

A note on the staffers

I was constantly impressed by how much work the Senator’s staffers put into each case. They got passionate about people’s cases, they investigated the issues, they worked hard for constituents. You may not get this impression from the letters you get, asking you to wait 6 weeks or 2 weeks or 6 months. It is probably an awful feeling getting one of those letters. But perhaps it will help to know that though it may feel like you’re being blown off, you really really are not. The staffers care about constituents services, or else they would not be working in that office.

Inspirational Quote:

John N. Mitchell – “The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire.”


  1. We are Seniors and can you give me some information on how to compose my letter to my Senator’s on the health care proposal. We live in California….Do you have access to Dick Morris Castrophe Chapter 4… We live 100 miles to the nearest book store…

    Thank you..

    Pennie Karale

  2. I am composing a letter to my Senator regarding my application for Social Security Disability. I am in desperate need of some help to move things along before I lose everything! I’m just wondering if there is anything I should be sending along with my letter for the Senator to review (ie. Doctor’s letter)?
    Thank you!

  3. Hi Melissa,

    I am very sorry to hear of your troubles. My first step would be to get out what you are planning to send, and call the office of the Senator or Senators you are writing. Ask the person who answers the phone if they have a moment to go over your packet with you, to make sure you have everything you need. Being clear and concise is probably your best tact. And as maddeningly frustrating as it is, please remember it can take weeks or months for federal agencies to reply to the Senator so it may be slow going even now. I hope this helps,


  4. How will you recomend me the most fastest ,simple way to writee a senator ? I will like to get it asap..
    How should I write my letter or what can be the most brilliant way in order for it to draw the attention of someone running for Sanator?

  5. We are senior who are doing a documentary about addiction awareness in our county in Maine. I would love for the senator to speak , approval or recognize our hard work that we put into this project at the University of Maine at Machias. Please tell me how to construct a letter. Thank you!

  6. Hi Jessica,

    Your post here is a great help. I have a very unique problem, that has destroyed my career and isolated in now for 12 years. Your tax dollars pay for that. Emerging Weapons and Technologies are the basis, as is behavior experiments.

    I have a Master from London, and Fluent in Chinese. I have been unemployed and abused now for 12 years, vulnerable after my last parent died.

    I read your interest in Technology and Justice. This is bio-ethics and neural-ethics.

    Thank you so much. This blog post is a blessing for many, whatever your problem

    “This research explores the current capabilities of the US military to use electromagnetic (EMF) devices to harass, intimidate, and kill individuals and the continuing possibilities of violations of human rights by the testing and deployment of these weapons.”. -Peter Phillips, Lew Brown and Bridget Thornton, 2006, Sonoma University and Project Censored

    “That the US has undertaken a variety of _mind control programmes in the past such as MkULTRA and MkDELTA is a matter of public record and those using electromagnetic radiation such as PANDORA have been the focus of researchers in para-politics for many years.355More recently, authors such as Begich and Roderick have alleged significant breakthroughs in the ability of military high frequency electromagnetic technologies to manipulate human behaviour.356”EU Parliament: report subtitled Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control:
    (An appraisal of technologies for political control) Luxembourg, June 2000 PE 168.394/FinSt.

    sufficient action has not been taken to compensate victims, and to assure that similar forms of abusive experimentation would be prevented in the future, especially in newly emerging areas of technology and weapons development.” 9. Involuntary Human Scientific Experimentation in TORTURE IN THE UNITED STATES The Status of Compliance by the U.S. Government with theInternational Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Morton Sklar Director, 1998 World Organization Against Torture USA )

    30. Calls in particular for an international convention for a global ban on all research and development, whether military or civilian, which seeks to apply knowledge of the chemical, electrical, sound vibration or other functioning of the human brain to the development of weapons which might enable any form of manipulation of human beings, including a ban on any actual or possible deployment of such systems; -RESOLUTION A4-0005/99 14 January EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

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