Editor’s Note:

This article is the third in our series relative to federal issues affecting the horse industry. This week’s article deals with some suggestions on how to contact your elected representatives in Washington.

Contacting Members of Congress

One of the most important ways the AHC can be effective on Capitol HIll is for Members of Congress to hear from our members, their constituents. There are several very important ways of letting Members of Congress know of horse industry concerns, including writing letters, making telephone calls and personal visits. Here are some tips when contacting a Member of Congress.

Writing To A Member

• You should identify yourself, what your equine activities are, where you live, who you represent, the number of employees you may have and any information that indicates your economic size.

• Your purpose for writing should be stated early in your letter. If your letter refers to a specific piece of legislation, identify it, eg., House bill: H.R. ______, Senate Bill: S. ______.

• Make your points and include key information, using examples to support your position.

• Address only one issue in each letter and, if possible, keep the letter to one page. The address is:

U.S. Senate:
The Honorable __________
United States Senate
Washington, D.C 20510

Dear Senator __________:

U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable __________:
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative __________:

Personal Visits

• Make an appointment. Explain your purpose and who you represent. It is easier for congressional staff to arrange a meeting if they know what you wish to discuss.

• Be prepared. Whenever possible, demonstrate the connection between what you are requesting and the interests of the Member’s constituency.

• Be responsive. Be prepared to answer questions. If you can’t, offer to provide additional information later. Follow up the meeting with a thank you letter that outlines the different points covered during the meeting and send along any additional information and materials requested.

• Remember you can visit your Representative either in Washington, back in the district office in your state or at many of the Town Hall Meetings held by Representatives in their district.

Congressional Leadership

Senate Leadership

President of the Senate Vice President Richard Cheney
Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-SD)
Majority Whip Harry Reid (D-NV)
Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS)
Assistant Minority Leader Don Nickles (R-OK)

House Leadership

Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-TX)
Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX)
Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO)
Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)