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Know Your Government

How does the government work? What are the rules? Who does what? This page is meant to be a helpful key to understanding the several layers of government that we have, under our federal system.

Contacting your Elected Representatives

Your views as a voter help determine how your elected officials may legislate on a given issue, or what kind of policy decisions Executive officers may make. Let your Representatives and Executive officials know what you think. Telephone calls to the offices of legislators have greatest impact, along with written letters, cards and telegrams.

Emails also are useful. Be brief in your message. State who you are and give your reasons for urging them to act as you recommend, providing any relevant details on the impact their actions may have on you, your friends, or family members. If writing, include your address, and sign your name legibly. If they vote as you wish, let them know you appreciate their decision.

Address the President of the U.S. as “The President,” other elected officials as “The Honorable (full name).” The salutation is “Dear Mr. President:” for the President and “Dear (Senator, Governor, Mayor etc.) (last name),” for other officials. The closing for letters to the President is “Very respectfully yours.” The closing for all the other letters is “Very truly yours,” or “Sincerely yours.”