AmeriCAN-DO Attitude

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How to Get Your Complaint Noticed by Politicians

I found this here, in the comments section: Sweetness and Light – Media Matters Defends Hillary, Attacks Rudy

If you want your correspondence read, you need to send it directly to a staffer — making it personal. The first thing to do is go to:

www.Legistorm.com

and type in the Senator or Congressman’s name — click on the staff tab and “Tah-dah!” You now have a list of all the Congressman/Senator’s staffers — their job titles — and how much they make (this is why I like this site and recommend it). Stay away from the Chief of Staff for your letters… this person is very busy and will almost certainly dump you letter/email to someone else or delete it. Send it to a legislative assistant who looks like they handle something along the lines of your letter. If you can’t tell… just pick one and personalize it. As long as it isn’t an ugly fax/email, it’ll get routed to someone — especially if you follow up with a phone call to that staffer…

***Do NOT send a letter via US Postal Service — it can take weeks to get through the anthrax screening process in DC — however, a faxed letter to the office will get read by someone — which is more than will probably happen with your email that was not addressed to a staffer. Be sure to address your letter/fax to a staff member. That gets a LOT more attention than “Dear Congressman Doodlehead” will. That immediately tells them it’s “one of those” letters. When sent to a staffer, he or she will read it and be forced to deal with the letter in some way… after all, their name is on it and if you happen to call… we’ll you get the picture. Your correspondence commands more attention this way.

So, now you have the staffer’s name, and you have enough information to fax them, but what if you want to email them — you don’t have their email address. So how do you get that? Well, chances are the office won’t give it to you if you call — they are normally told to give you the main email address on the website when you call and assure you that someone will take a look at it. That is seldom the case, so don’t fall for that one.

But, since you got the staffer’s name from “legistorm.com” (and although there are no email addresses on that site), you can use the following trick and it will work about 70% of the time to get your email to your staffer. Of course, if you are faxing a letter, you don’t need the email address — but it sure helps to follow up on what is being done about your complaint.

Let’s say your staffer’s name is: “Sam Vimes” and he works for “Congressman Vetinari”. Here’s what his email will look like most of the time:

sam.vimes@mail.house.gov

The house normally uses the staffer’s first and last name, separated by a “dot”. In the House of Representatives, an email address is always ended with: @mail.house.gov

Now the Senate email is different. Lets take the same situation and change the Congressman to a Senator.

The email address would be:

sam_vimes@vetinari.senate.gov.

The difference is that the Senate uses an “underscore” between the first and last name of the staffer… AND they use the Senator’s name before the “senate” designation. The House does not use the Congressman’s name in the email address.

This will work to get you to a staffer most of the time, when you don’t have a staffer’s personal email address. However, each staffer has their own way of dealing with “unwanted” emails. To really add spice to your email, follow up with a phone call to that staffer and ask if they have received your email and what are they doing about your complaint.

That gets even more attention.

I just wanted to pass this along to those who don’t know how the email system works in DC. Most of the time if you send emails to the Congressional Website address, it will never get acted upon. If you send correspondence to “Dear Congressman/Senator” you get the same thing. But to a staffer? That is where you can get things accomplished. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but not many — and why risk wasting your time? Use a little more effort — send your correspondence to a staffer and you can be sure you were heard.

Hope this helps…

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March 22, 2009 , 8:23PM - Posted by | Democrats, Republicans

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