Unemployment is at a historic high throughout the country, and the disorganization of the system has millions of disgruntled Americans asking “where is my unemployment check?” If you’re one of these individuals impacted by a broken system and are looking for a place to find answers, your state representative may be the best way to resolve unemployment issues.
Contacting your state’s elected legislator is an easy thing to do, once you know how. Here is a quick guide on what they can do for you, and where to start!
State representatives serve in the legislative branch of the state government. They serve in their state’s House of Representatives and are involved in the process of making state laws. Though there’s only one group of United State representatives who all work together to make U.S. laws, each state has its own set of state representatives who work independently of those in other states.
States are facing surges of unemployment amid the Coronavirus pandemic, countless individuals are finding themselves running around trying to find answers to a neverending list of questions. State legislators and their staff are there to help with situations such as these.
Your state representatives are legislators that are elected to represent YOUR concerns and answer your state-level questions. When contacting your state rep, you want to make sure you’re discussing issues they can directly influence. On a state level, this can be things such as unemployment, local education funding, road maintenance, and police funding.
You have the right to express your opinion on all matters relating to the current political landscape. Representatives have an entire team of staff that are devoted to serving their constituents, and it’s your responsibility to raise concerns and make your voice heard.
The United States House of Representatives provides a public database of contact information for each of your state’s elected officials. When you figure out who your state representative is, take the time to do a little bit of background research about them and the issues they support. Make sure you are using reliable sources such as their official website, social media accounts, and other government pages.
Chances are you won’t be finding the cell phone number of your state representative anywhere online. This means when you are “calling your reps,” you’re really “calling your rep’s designated staffer.” But, is calling always the best way to have your voice be heard? It really depends, there are various ways you can reach out.
Phone calls may be the most effective way to reach out to your state representative. Whenever possible, reach out to the office directly. You may also call the Capitol switchboard at 866-255-3207 who can direct you to the correct office.
Always let the staffer know what specific issue you are calling about and ask to speak to the correct aide. They are generally very busy, so give your full name and state and get to the point quickly and concisely! Think of it as a quick elevator pitch of your thoughts and concerns.
If you are calling and calling an office but you A) can’t get through or B) their voicemail is full, email is another great way to contact your state representative. Most times, you can find their direct email address on their website. When you’re finished crafting your message, be sure to proofread the subject line and body before hitting send!
Letters, though effective ways to communicate with elected officials, are the slowest method of contact. Due to security measures, all mail and packages must be screened prior to reaching the Capitol. So it may take weeks until your elected official opens your letter.
When writing a letter, be sure to keep it brief (1 page or less), state who you are, and add a personal touch to the overall message.
Though not as traditional as other methods, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are the newest and arguably, easiest way to contact your state representative.
Phone calls and letters may carry more value in the eyes of lawmakers and congressional aides, contacting your legislators through social media has the unique advantage of occurring in the public’s eye and potentially sparking dialogue. Remember to always be respectful and never use offensive language.