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Engage your State and Congressional Representatives

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Activity Description

Your community may be impacted by legislation that is proposed by state or federal lawmakers.  If you have an opinion regarding a bill, you can write your representative and convey your opposition or support for a particular piece of proposed legislation.

Step 1: 

Learn who represents you in the Tennessee General Assembly and the United States Congress.

The Tennessee General Assembly has a “Find My Legislator” tool on its website. You can enter your address to access an interactive map that allows you to identify your Senate District and Senator, and House District and Representative.  Your Senator and Representative are elected to represent the interests of the people living in their district: their constituents.

Step 2:

Now that you know which Senator and Representative represent you, you must determine how to contact them.  Listings of current Tennessee Senators and Representatives are published on the Tennessee General Assembly’s website.

Step 3:

Be timely.

If you want your voice to have an impact on a Senator or Representative’s vote on a particular bill, you must communicate with him or her before action is taken on the bill.  This will require you to monitor the bill’s progress through the General Assembly through its Calendars for committee and floor action.

Step 4:

Make your case.

Now that you know the who, where and when, it’s time for the what.  Depending on your communication skills and preferences, you might find that an in-person meeting or telephone conversation, or both, would be the best way to convey your thoughts on a particular bill.  Many constituents, however, author letters in support or opposition to a particular bill.  Whatever method you select, the following tips will serve you well:

  • Be clear and concise.
  • Describe how the bill at issue will impact you, your family or your community. As much as possible, rely on facts to support your position.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be reasonable.

The Tennessee General Assembly has a page devoted to helping constituents understand how best to engage their elected representatives; visit their website here.


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