Do some research before
- Know your legislators, their backgrounds, and their positions. Compare if your issues of interest are important to them.
- Know the organizations that research and recommend policy changes on the issues you care about.
- Take a look to see if there are any bills this session on the issues you care about.
How to communicate with your Legislator
- Schedule a meeting at their office: When the legislature is not in session, legislators have more time. Set up a meeting and bring a few like-minded friends or neighbors. See our tips to prepare for a visit below.
- Go to events: Attend town halls, forums, and other meetings where your legislator is speaking. Be sure to introduce yourself and come prepared with a question.
- Make a call: It is quickest and most direct to call your legislator’s district office to discuss issues that are important to you and what you want your legislator to do about them. You may reach a staffer or can leave a message.
- Write a letter or send a postcard: You can also send legislator’s a written letter or email to their district office to discuss issues that are important to you and what you want your legislator to do about them.
When communicating with your Legislator
- Tell them why the issue matters to you. Your legislators are there to serve their constituents, which includes you. Sharing why an issue matters to you will also help you build a relationship.
- Know your content. Before contacting your legislator, research the issue and plan what you want to say. If you don’t have an answer to a question, explain that you will research and follow-up. Be sure to do so in a timely manner!
- Be clear. Clearly state your position on an issue and know what action you want them to take.
- Be brief and polite. Legislators want to know what you think, but they are busy. Keep letters to a couple of paragraphs, phone messages to a few sentences, and meetings between 20-45 minutes. Arrive on time and keep a positive attitude.
- Follow-up! Write a thank you letter to the legislator and staff members with whom you met. Restate your main position and include any information that may have been requested.
- Read our sample scripts before reaching out.
- Don’t just communicate with your legislator when you don’t want them to take an action. Thank them when they take actions that you agree with.
- Stay informed by following organizations that care about the same issues that you do. Sign up for alerts to know when to contact your legislator.
Know your contact information
- Illinois General Assembly Contact information
- Physical Address of Illinois Capitol Building: 401 S. 2nd St. Springfield, IL 62707
- Website: www.ilga.gov
- Find your legislator: https://elections.il.gov/ElectionOperations/DistrictLocator/DistrictOfficialSearchByAddress.aspx
- Phone for House: 217-782-8223
- Phone for Senate: 217-782-5715
- Phone for Governor’s Office: 217-782-0244
- ACLU of Illinois
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: aclu-il.org
- Legislative work: aclu-il.org/en/legislation
- Sign up for People Power: peoplepower.org
- Sign up for the Action Alert list: action.aclu.org/signup/aclu-il-get-updates-fight-freedom