Here are some tips that can help make sure your letter gets read.

Use formal titles when addressing letters. 

When referring to members of Congress, it is best to use their formal titles.  

  • State and federal Senators should always be referred to and addressed as “Senator [Last name]”
  • Members of the U.S. House of Representatives may be referred to as “Congresswoman/Congressman [Last name]”, “Ms./Mr. [Last name]”, or “Representative [Last Name]”
  • Members of the PA House of Representatives may be referred to as “Representative [Last name]” or “Ms./Mr. [Last name]”

You can find the names and contact information for all of your representatives here 

Address your letter properly. 

If you’re sending a physical letter (as opposed to an email), address the envelope as follows: 

For US Senators:

The Honorable (Full Name) 

(Senate Office Building address) 

United States Senate 

Washington, DC 20510 

Dear Senator [Last name]: 


For US Representatives: 

The Honorable (Full Name) 

United States House of Representatives 

Washington, DC 20515 

Dear Representative/Congressman/Congresswoman [Last name]: 

 If the PA legislature is in session (you can check here), send the letter to the legislator’s Harrisburg office. If they’re not currently in session, send it to their local office (you can find that here).  

For State Senators: 

The Honorable (Full Name) 

Pennsylvania State Senator for (District) 

Senate P.O. Box (insert P.O. Box number) 

Main Capitol Building 

Harrisburg, PA 17120 

Dear Senator [Last name]: 


For State Representatives: 

The Honorable (Full Name) 

House P.O. Box (insert P.O. Box number) 

Main Capitol Building 

Harrisburg, PA 17120 

Dear Representative [Last name]: 

Be clear about who you are. 

Of course, you want to let your legislator know that you are their constituent. But who else are you? Are you a leader in your community? An expert in the field you’re writing to them about? Someone who’s been directly affected by the issue you want to bring to their attention? If you’ve met this legislator before or have a personal connection, feel free to mention that. Personal stories and connections are important; make sure you briefly introduce yourself and include relevant information.  

Be direct and concise. 

Every year thousands of bills are introduced in the legislature, so it’s important to state your position right away and keep your argument brief.  

  • Choose one issue or piece of legislation to discuss. 
  • If there is already a bill introduced, use the bill number (ex. SB001, HB002). If a bill hasn’t been introduced yet, clearly explain the issue.
  • Choose the three most important pieces of information to share.
  • Be clear about what you want your legislator to do. 
  • Letters should be no more than one page and emails should be about 500 words.  

Be informative and factual. 

Legislators can’t be experts in everything, so your role as a citizen advocate should be one of educating them on important issues. Make sure you have the best information on your topic and make sure you relate the issue to how it affects your community. Offer to provide any additional information your lawmaker may need to consider your request.  

Be civil. 

Even if your legislator has completely opposite views than you, civil discourse is the best choice when advocating for legislation or policy. You can (and should) make a strong case for your position, but doing so in a civil tone will have a much more positive impact.  

Follow up. 

Remember to request a reply and provide your contact information. If you don’t hear back, write a follow-up letter. If your legislator acts favorably to your request (introduced legislation, votes for a bill you support, speaks out on an issue, etc.) send a thank you note.