This information came from the Coalition of CT sportsmen website.

Contacting your Legislators

Contacting Your Legislators:

Phone: The Best Method - Use the Blue Pages of your Phone Book under "Connecticut State of " then "State Legislators" OR call the Toll-free Numbers below and ask the receptionist. Most Legislators do well in returning phone calls.

1-800-842-8267 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting**************1-800-842-8267******end_of_the_skype_highlighting House Democrats

1-800-842-1423 House Republicans

1-800-842-1420 Democratic State Senators

1-800-842-1421 Republican State Senators

Mail: Use the Phone Book once you determine who they are.

Web/E-mail: Legislative website. On this site you can "Find Representative, Senator and Congressperson." http://www.cga.ct.gov/maps/townlist.asp

visit their website; get their E-mail address; follow Committee actions: and obtain other Legislative information.

If you call and can't speak to the Legislator - ALWAYS leave a message and ask for a response.

Communicate!!!

Contacting Your Representatives Works -- If You Do It Right

Found on an Anti-gun website, but good info:
By Bob Curley 6/14/2002

When politicians say they want to hear from constituents on issues like addiction and gun violence, it's more than lip-service. Experts say that despite corporate lobbying campaigns and big-money influence in the halls of government, individuals can still make a difference by contacting federal and state lawmakers.

"Unquestionably [contacting legislators] is effective, but the challenge is to teach constituents that it does make a difference," says Bob Hansan, president of Capitol Advantage, a Washington, D.C. based firm that uses technology to connect grassroots advocates with policymakers. Referring to the members of Congress, Hansan adds, "These are 540 of the best pollsters in the country, and they are very in tune with the feelings of their constituent base. When you communicate with them, it is amazing what that can do."

How that communication is conducted, however, can make all the difference in whether your message is received and heard. E-mail may have become commonplace in many homes and businesses over the past few years, but until recently many lawmakers looked askance at electronic communications. However, after last fall's terrorist attacks -- and particularly in the wake of the anthrax attacks on legislators' Capitol Hill offices -- electronic communication is being viewed in a more positive light, although acceptance is far from universal.

Many Ways to Get Your Message Across

There are five main ways to communicate with lawmakers: in person, via phone, via fax, by mail, and by e-mail. "The very best thing people can do is to show up at town meetings or other events in the community," says Matt Bennett, director of public affairs for Americans for Gun Safety. "That's where they can really have a huge impact, even if they don't have political connections. [In-person encounters with constituents] are the things that lawmakers come back to Washington and talk about."

Among the other forms of communication, a handwritten (or typed, as opposed to mass-produced) letter from a constituent has long carried the most weight with lawmakers, who give the author credit for taking the time to write the letter, put it in an envelope, and mail it.

The trouble is that since the anthrax attacks, all mail going to Capitol Hill is being carefully screened and irradiated to prevent further biological attacks. The upshot is that it now can take weeks, if not months, for regular mail to reach the office of your Senator or Representative.

E-Mail vs. "Snail Mail"

Nonetheless, experts like Bennett still consider "snail mail" the best way to contact legislators -- with the caveat that mail will be received more quickly if it is sent to the lawmaker's district office (e.g. the office in your state) rather than to their Washington office.

"For Congress, there's no question that letters are still the most effective," says Bennett. "The least effective is definitely e-mail -- it's seen as too easy, too quick, and [legislators and their staff] don't pay much attention to it."

In its recent report, "E-Mail Overload in Congress: Managing a Communications Crisis," the Congress Online Project echoed these concerns.

"Most congressional offices underestimate the importance of constituent e-mail," the report said. "The general assumption is that e-mail messages are just quick notes or unformed thoughts. Offices figure that constituents will take the time to call or send a longer letter about issues that deeply concern them. As a result, e-mail messages often receive lower priority in congressional offices than postal mail or phone calls."

Others disagree. Jennie Collier, director of national policy for the Legal Action Center, which advocates for the rights of people with addictions, says, "We've found that fax and e-mail have become much more reliable now that snail mail is all being irradiated." And a spokesperson for Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) says that e-mail "has as much impact as anything" in terms of influencing her boss' positions and legislation.

The Congress Online Project says that most e-mail writers consider their inquiries serious ones, and expect an in-kind reply. "Failing to deliver it reflects poorly on Members of Congress," the report warns.

Such talk is encouraging to Hansan, whose business largely depends on the efficacy of electronic discourse. "The Congressional Management Foundation sees a trend toward electronic communications, and anthrax certainly has helped that along," he says. "Each legislative office is its own kingdom, but they are adapting more technology to manage the information from people who contact them."

Moreover, experts generally agree that state lawmakers, who receive far less mail than members of Congress but also have much less staff support, have welcomed e-mail as a way for constituents to keep in touch.

Te Be Read, Be Relevant

Like many individuals and corporations who have ventured into the online world, Congress has learned that the drawback of e-mail is its volume, and the challenge is in separating the virtual wheat from the chaff. For example, the Congress Online Project recently estimated that the U.S. House of Representatives received 48 million pieces of e-mail in 2000, up from 20 million in 1998.

Like prepackaged or bulk mailings delivered by the postal service, form-letter e-mails are generally disregarded by legislators. Given the inherent bias against e-mail as a "throwaway" form of communication, it's especially important that e-mails to lawmakers be substantive, thoughtful, and personal. For maximum impact, keep letters concise -- perhaps two paragraphs of four sentences each.



"Members of Congress and their staff like letters because it's perceived that it took more time and effort to do it, but we feel that if you make an articulate 'ask' with specific, personalized details, e-mail would be just as effective," says Hansan.

No matter what form of communication you engage in, it's vital that you identify yourself as a constituent of the legislator you are contacting. "The number-one thing to do to be effective is to give lawmakers ... your name and address," says Hansan. "Ninety percent of e-mail does not have a full postal address, so it's seen as spam, filtered, and discarded. If it's not from their district or state, they don't care."

In its report, the Capitol Online Project reiterates this message by advising advocacy organizations to discourage their members from sending e-mails or other correspondence to members of Congress from other states or districts, avoid using "electronic postcards," and advise correspondents to include complete contact information in all electronic communications....

To help ensure that e-mails are given proper attention by recipients, the CapWiz system requires users to enter their name and address. CapWiz is also customized to each lawmaker's own internal system for handling electronic communications. [Similar to all the national pro-gun websites]

For example, Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) prefers to hear from constituents via a public e-mail address. But his benchmate, Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), uses a web form with a drop-down menu of topics that correspondents must use to categorize their query. CapWiz mirrors such requirements so that Congressional staffers receive electronic communication in the most user-friendly format possible.

Telephone calls are also a valid form of communication; lawmakers typically tally the number of calls they get on an issue, and may also jot down the basics of what callers are saying. And, as Bennett pointed out, with first-class postage going up to 39 cents, it's often cheaper to make a long-distance phone call to Washington than to send a letter.

Author's Note: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an excellent fact sheet on how to get in touch with your state or federal representatives.