Contact Your Member

Find My Members of Congress

Every American has two elected senators from their state and one representative in the House of Representatives from their district.

Click Here and sort the list by state to find your senators. 

Click Here to type in your zip code and find out who your Congressperson is.

Once you find your representatives, click here to see if they are in the caucus.

If they are not, scroll down the page to learn how to write them a letter or email asking them to join the caucus.

Write a Letter

Why are you writing to your member of Congress?

  • What issues do you want to talk about? An “issue” is something like “join the Fire Caucus” or “increase funding for AFG and SAFER.”  Click here to see a list of CFSI’s policy issues for reference.
  • Pick 1-3 issues to talk about in your letter. Don’t write about more than that in one letter or your points are likely to get lost or confused.

Here are some important things to keep in mind when writing to a member of Congress:

TONE:

  • Be polite and informative. Avoid combative or argumentative language.
  • Do not copy and paste standard phrases. This often gives the appearance of a form letter, which is less compelling.
  • Do not write on impulse. Have someone review your letter for content and grammar. Show that you put some time and thought into it. Your letter will be more effective if it is well-prepared. 

LENGTH/TOPICS:

  • Keep the letter brief and to the point
  • Know your facts. Erroneous information will hurt your credibility. Click here to use background information and talking points that CFSI has compiled on major policy issues affecting the fire and emergency services.
  • Provide specific data and anecdotes to help make your point. Members of Congress value your input since you are the boots on the ground. Make sure any examples you use are targeted and relevant. 

Is your member in the Congressional Fire Services Caucus? Click here to see if your member is in the caucus. If not, ask them to join!

HIGHLIGHT YOUR BACKGROUND:

  • If you’ve met them, tell them! If you have met your member of Congress or have some connection or association beyond being a constituent, highlight it in your letter.
  • If sending a hardcopy, use office, fire department, or personal letterhead. Sign your name over your typed name at the end of your letter.

Here is a sample email format:

 

Dear Senator/Representative Lastname:

As [YOUR JOB TITLE] of the [CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT], I am writing today to ask you to [ASK #1 (example: join the congressional fire services caucus)] and [ASK #2 (example: support increased appropriations for AFG and SAFER)]. [Note: if you have met the member before, work it into this opening paragraph.]

Paragraph explaining Ask #1. Give background on the ask and explain why it is important. Feel free to use information from CFSI’s policy page. Provide examples from your department if possible/relevant. 

Paragraph explaining Ask# 2. Give background on the ask and explain why it is important. Feel free to use information from CFSI’s policy page. Provide examples from your department if possible/relevant.  

If you have any questions or would like to contact me, please feel free to email me at [[email protected]] or call me at [555-555-5555]. Furthermore, please consider this letter an open invitation to visit my department to learn more about our mission.

Sincerely,

Firstname Lastname,

Job Title City Fire Department

Here is a sample hardcopy format:

 

City Fire Department

1234 Main St.

City, State 00000

 

[Date]

 

The Honorable Memberfirstname Lastname

United States House of Representatives or Senate

### Cannon House or Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 00000

 

Dear Senator/Representative Lastname:

As [YOUR JOB TITLE] of the [CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT], I am writing today to ask you to [ASK #1 (example: join the congressional fire services caucus)] and [ASK #2 (example: support increased appropriations for AFG and SAFER)]. [Note: if you have met the member before, work it into this opening paragraph.]

Paragraph explaining Ask #1. Give background on the ask and explain why it is important. Feel free to use information from CFSI’s policy page. Provide examples from your department if possible/relevant. 

Paragraph explaining Ask# 2. Give background on the ask and explain why it is important. Feel free to use information from CFSI’s policy page. Provide examples from your department if possible/relevant.

If you have any questions or would like to contact me, please feel free to email me at [[email protected]] or call me at [555-555-5555]. Furthermore, please consider this letter an open invitation to visit my department to learn more about our mission.

Sincerely,

Sign your name here

Firstname Lastname, Job Title 

City Fire Department

Request a Meeting

If you want a virtual meeting, you do not need to pick which office you would like to meet at.

If requesting an in-person meeting, which of their offices can you meet at? Members generally have a DC office and offices in their states and districts. 

To find where their offices are:

  1. Find your member using the links in the “Find My Representatives” section above.
  2. Click on the link to go to their website and navigate to the Contact page, where you can see the addresses where their various offices are. 
  3. Decide which office or offices you would be able to travel to meet at (if requesting an in-person meeting). 

Once you find your members in the “Find my Representatives” section, click on the link to go to their website and navigate to the Contact page, where you can fill out a form.

Draft meeting request email

Dear Senator/Representative Lastname:

My name is [NAME] and I currently serve as [YOUR JOB TITLE] of the [CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT]. I am writing today to request [A VIRTUAL / AN IN-PERSON] meeting to discuss [ISSUES: briefly list the issues you would like to discuss].

I will be available to meet with you at your [LOCATION] office on [DATES YOU ARE AVAILABLE] and would welcome the opportunity to speak with you and your staff about these issues. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at [[email protected]] or phone at [555-555-5555]. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Firstname Lastname, Job Title 

City Fire Department

Here are some tips for a successful meeting:

  • Treat everyone in the meeting with respect. Even if you are meeting with a young staff member, remember that they still interact directly with the Member of Congress. Also, the better rapport you have with a staff member, the better the meeting will go.
  • Use the proper titles. Address your member of Congress as either Senator or Representative Lastname
  • Know your facts. Erroneous information will hurt your credibility. Click here to see background information and talking points that CFSI has compiled on major policy issues affecting the fire and emergency services.
  • Prepare specific data and anecdotes to help make your point. Members of Congress value your input since you are the boots on the ground. Make sure any examples you use are targeted and relevant. 
  • Go with the flow. If the member or staffer seems particularly interested in one point you are making, you can stay on that point longer. Answer their questions. Use the back and forth to develop a rapport. 
  • Feel free to bring handouts. If you plan to talk about any of the issues on CFSI’s policy page, you can download CFSI’s PDFs with background and talking points to bring to your meeting and leave them with the member or staff person. Click here to find PDF handouts on major policy issues affecting the fire and emergency services.
  • Offer yourself as a resource – hand out your business card. At the end of the meeting, make sure to emphasize that if the member or staff person has any questions in the future about fire and emergency services issues, they should come to you. Make sure you leave a business card. 
  • Remember: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Developing relationships with your member of Congress and their staff is critical. It is much easier to reach out in the future when you have developed a good relationship. However, a great relationship takes time to develop. Look for opportunities to meet with your member of Congress and their staff at events in your community or by setting up meetings periodically.

Get the business card of the staff person in the meeting and email them a thank you note after the meeting.

You can use your email to thank everyone in the meeting for their time, talk about any issues you weren’t able to cover in the meeting, and attach any handouts or additional information they may have asked for.