One great way to advocate for a Citizen Cabinet is to write your Representative an email or personal letter. Personal letters tend to be superior to emails or form-letters because of the time invested in writing them, so Congressional offices take them more seriously. If you feel moved to write, here are some general guidelines:
1. Keep it simple: Around three paragraphs and no more than one page is ideal.
2. Make sure you’re sending it to the right person [click here to find the address of your representative], and make sure you include your own mailing address, otherwise it is unlikely to be read at all.
3. For extra impact, call ahead and ask for the name of the staffer handling government reform issues, and send your letter straight to their attention.
4. Be courteous. Don’t allow your frustration with Congress to get the better of you. A respectful tone is always more effective and persuasive.
5. In the first paragraph, introduce yourself including any honors, accomplishments, or personal details, and say why you are writing, including the bill number and official name of any pending legislation (check in on the VOP.org website for the most current legislative alerts and updates).
6. In the second paragraph, state your reasons why you think your representatives should support a Citizen Cabinet.
7. Close by thanking them for their time and stating your appreciation should they support a Citizen Cabinet.
Sample Letter to Congress
Senator/The Honorable [Full name]
United States Senate/U.S. House of Representatives
[Building Name and Room Number] (Look up on-line or call your representative)
Washington, DC 20510(Senate)/20515(House)
Dear [Senator/Representative] [Last Name]:
My name is [Name], and I want to ask you to support a bold new way to give the American people a greater voice in government. It is called the Citizen Cabinet and I would like to know if this is something you will support.
Our democracy is in real trouble today, between all the special-interests, the partisan gridlock that’s tying up Congress, and the feeling many of us share that our system is broken. We need to be looking at better ways to let the people’s voice come through loud and clear, which right now isn’t happening.
A national Citizen Cabinet would give the American people a greater voice and help resolve some of the more contentious issues Congress is wrestling with today. It would also give you a more clear and accurate picture of what all of us think on key issues, not just the few of us who come to town hall meetings or have time to write. The idea of giving the people information, letting them hear the best arguments from all sides, and then make their recommendations to Congress would really help. It would raise the level of the debate, lead to more common-sense solutions and help Congress come together for the common good.
Here is a link to a website that describes this proposal in detail: www.VOP.org.
I hope you will support this common-sense idea, which I think will help us fix what’s wrong in our democracy and get back to our founding principle that government ought to be guided by the will of the people more than anything else.
CITY, STATE, ZIP
[NOTE: You must include your home address or your letter is unlikely to be read]
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