Here are a few pointers from Ed Jaffee:
First and foremost, it’s always best to write individual letters or e-mails to your legislators, rather than signing a petition-style letter. In fact, when I was in Richmond last January, Del. Chuck Collins, the guy who represents Winchester in the General Assembly, told me his office doesn’t even bother to read what he called group letters.
And it’s better still if our letter-writers can truly personalize their letters, by telling how the proposed legislation would affect them and their families. That’s true whether you support or oppose the subject legislation. And do be sure to identify yourself as a constituent of the legislator.
You may or may not receive a response, and that response may well be the typical pro-forma “Thanks for writing” type of thing. But even so, if the senator or delegate involved does vote your way on the issue, you can get major brownie points by sending a quick, brief note thanking him or her for his or her support on a matter of major importance to you.
One final point: All or our local area legislators have offices in or around Winchester. It’s always a good idea, when you have the time, to drop in and introduce yourself to the local key staffer. That way, you can mention that person when you do write to the member. And a good staffer will have the ear of the boss, so it’s worth the effort to stop in and say hello.