How to Contact and Speak to Your Legislator

  • Written Correspondence and Phone Calls:

    E-mails, letters, and social media are convenient and easy ways to contact your legislator while a phone call is an effective way to speak to legislators directly. Make sure you state your contact information so your legislator knows that you are a constituent—addressing concerns of constituents is a top priority for legislators.

    The MSU Government and External Relations, State Relations website has a “Resources” page that provides Advocates with access to Michigan House and Senate members addresses and telephone numbers.

    Here are a few more tips for effectively communicating your position:

    • Communicate your point clearly and briefly—be issue-focused. If writing, keep your communication to one page and provide your contact information.

    Please address your correspondence to legislators and other elected officials in the following manner:

    Your full name
    Address
    City, state, zip code

    [Insert Date]
    The Honorable [insert full name]
    Address
    City, state, zip code

    Dear Representative [or Senator] [insert last name]:

    • Refer to the facts sheets provided in this toolkit for background information on higher education funding. Use these as talking points while on the telephone or for supporting detail in a letter.
    • If addressing a particular piece of legislation, include the bill number, title, and subject matter.
    • Add a personal touch about how this issue affects you.
    • Describe your relationship with Michigan State University.
    • Clearly state the actions, as outlined by the Spartan Advocate, for them to take as your representative in Lansing.
    • If the legislator asks questions you are not prepared to answer, refer the questions to MSU Government and External Relations office at (517) 353-9000.
    • Respectfully request the legislator's support on the issue and thank them for his/her time and consideration.
  • Face-to-Face Visits:

    A scheduled face-to-face meeting is considered the most effective way to communicate with your legislator. It makes the most lasting impression and is relatively easy to schedule. On average, a meeting lasts 15 minutes and should not exceed 30. If you plan to visit your legislators while they are in Lansing, check the official calendars for when the House and Senate members are in session to plan your meeting.

    Here are some tips to help you maximize the meeting's effectiveness:

    • Call the office to make an appointment before your visit. Let them know specifically what you wish to speak to them about.
    • Always address legislators as “Representative” or “Senator.”
    • Prepare for the meeting by reviewing the most recent Spartan Advocate email update, the talking points provided in the toolkit, and any other information that may be relevant to your discussion.
    • Once in the meeting, be issue-focused and clearly state your point and provide examples of how this issue personally affects you.
    • Describe and personalize your relationship with Michigan State University.
    • Clearly state the actions, as outlined by the Spartan Advocate, for them to take as your representative in Lansing.
    • If a legislator disagrees with you, be prepared to politely restate your position and to respectfully listen to the opposing position.
    • If the legislator asks questions you are not prepared to answer, refer the questions to MSU Government and External Relations office at (517) 353-9000.
    • When you depart, thank the lawmaker for his/her time and respectfully request the legislator's support on the issue.

    Please follow up with Jeremy Reuter, Director for Statewide Advocacy, MSU Government and External Relations at (517) 353-9000 and share how your meeting went. This will help identify where to target advocacy efforts.

    Also be sure to email, fax or mail a copy of your written correspondence to:

    Jeremy Reuter, Director for Statewide Advocacy
    Michigan State University
    Hannah Administration Bldg.
    426 Auditorium Rd, Room 484
    East Lansing, MI 48824-1046
    Phone: (517) 353-9000
    Fax: (517) 353-9190
    Email: advocate@msu.edu

  • Tips on talking to your legislator in person:

    A scheduled face-to-face meeting is considered the most effective way to communicate with your legislator because it makes the most lasting impression and is relatively easy to schedule. On average, a meeting lasts 15 minutes and should not exceed 30. If you plan to visit your legislators while they are in Lansing, check the official calendars for when the House and Senate members are in session to plan your meeting.

    Here are some tips to help you maximize the meeting's effectiveness:

    • Call the office to make an appointment before your visit. Let them know specifically what you wish to speak to them about.
    • Always address legislators as “Representative” or “Senator.”
    • Prepare for the meeting by reviewing the most recent Spartan Advocate email update, the talking points provided in the toolkit, and any other information that may be relevant to your discussion.
    • Refer to the factsheets provided in this toolkit for background information on higher education funding. Use these resources to prepare for your discussion with your legislator.
    • Once in the meeting, be issue-focused and clearly state your point and provide examples of how this issue personally affects you.
    • Describe and personalize your relationship with Michigan State University.
    • Clearly state the actions, as outlined by the Spartan Advocate, for them to take as your representative in Lansing.
    • If a legislator disagrees with you, be prepared to politely restate your position and to respectfully listen to the opposing position.
    • If the legislator asks questions you are not prepared to answer, refer the questions to MSU Government and External Relations office at (517) 353-9000.
    • When you depart, thank the lawmaker for his/her time and respectfully request the legislator's support on the issue.

    Please follow up with Jeremy Reuter, Director for Statewide Advocacy, MSU Government and External Relations at (517) 353-9000 and share how your meeting went. This will help identify where to target advocacy efforts

  • Prefer sending an email or engaging via social media?

    While a phone call is an effective way to speak to legislators directly, email and social media are also convenient and appropriate means of communication. Register as a Spartan Advocate and we will keep you informed on current issues and provide language that you can personalize by adding why you value higher education or your Michigan State degree.