write a detailed letter to an elected politician about a political issue

write a detailed letter to an elected politician about a political issue

Please write a detailed letter to an elected politician about a political issue, upcoming legislation, or laws and rules that concern you as a citizen. MAKE sure you type your letter and print it out as you need to submit the actual letter to me typewritten in a traditional letter format for a grade AND you must also upload your letter to Blackboard for assessment purposes as ONE Microsoft Word document (letter and references must be together in ONE file). Failure to upload your document to Blackboard will be an automatic zero for the assignment. Failure to submit the document in class as a hard copy will also result in an automatic zero for the assignment. All assignments must be scanned through Safe Assign or you will receive a zero. Assignments must be uploaded as a Word file. Only one document may be uploaded, if you upload more than one document it is an automatic zero. Failure to upload your document in Word will also result in an automatic zero. So that a politician gets your letter, I recommend that you also copy and paste your letter from your document into an e-mail to the politician. NOTE – Many politicians have “comment” or letter sections on their websites for you to use but if you ONLY type your letter in the comment box you will NOT have a copy to submit to me in class. Students who receive a response to their letter (not an automated reply stating that the person will get back to them) will receive 5 extra credit points to be added to their Exam #I grade. To receive extra credit, responses must be submitted by printing them out and handing them to me in class or forwarded to me via email by November 25 . ALL assignments must be submitted as hard copies as well as being uploaded to Blackboard by the time class begins. If you will NOT be in class, you MUST submit it as a hard copy the class period before it is due.

Who can you write a letter to? I. US Representative from your “home” district in TX (the representative who serves the Lamar University area is

Randy Weber), to find out your representative go to http://www.house.gov/ and do the “zip code” search to find out who your representative is as you need to write to someone from where you are from.

  1. US Senators from Texas: Ted Cruz and John Cornyn (for email information www .senate.gov) 3. State Representatives – http://www.house.state.tx.us/welcome.php – click on “members” and then on the

subsequent page, you will be able to search for your representative by zip code. (There will be several representatives who represent your zip code in the TX House). (If you live in Louisiana, please use this website to find out who represents you – http://www.legis.state.la.us/district/zipcode.asp)

  1. State Senators from TX – http://www.senate.state.tx.us/7Sr/Senate/Members.htm#FYI – you can then search on this page by your street, city and zip code (there will be two ST A TE Senators representing this area in the TX State Senate)
  2. State Governor: Greg Abbott – http://www.governor.state.tx.us/ or http://govemor.state.tx.us/organization/constituent communication/
  3. State/Federal Government Agencies – Check with me for specifics but you need to write to someone who is an elected leader. There are some departments that have elected leaders, when in doubt google the position to find out.
  4. City Councilmen, Mayors, Judges, County Commissioners, etc. – Google “City of. . . ” or “County of. . . ” and then click on the relevant website for the city or county and click on tabs for “government,” “city council,” or “contact information”.
  5. Any other elected politician that you can think of but think about the message you are sending and figure out who is most appropriate (local government, state government, federal government). You should NOT write a letter to President Trump (or a former President for that matter) or to anyone other than an elected politician. Additionally, you should ONLY write a letter to a politician who represents you (i.e. – a person representing the zip code in which you reside, so unless you live in California, you should NOT be writing Representative Nancy Pelosi). NO Letters to a politician who has not yet been elected to office, so for example, do not write to a candidate’s Exploratory Committee for President or others campaigning for office or anyone no longer in an elected office. Remember Cabinet positions are NOT elected. Before you consider writing to someone do a simple google search to make sure that they serve in an elected position.

What should your letter be about? I. Start broad and think about a political issue that interests you or is one that you are passionate about. Think about

community type issues that interest you – do you dislike drivers that speed on a particular neighborhood road? Would you like to see healthier selections of food at school lunches? Or maybe you would like to see a disc golf park in your area. Think about specific policies rehted to those issues and do some research.

a. Think BIG b. Create a list of things that upset or irk you about your area, city, home, etc. c. Narrow down the list and consider the message you want to send. Try to focus on ONLY one issue.

d. If you cannot think of anything to write about, consider looking at _minutes from recent City/Coundtyl meetings and see what issues are coming up. Look at the calendar m the US Hou_se and Senate an ook at upcoming bills. Think about your major and issues related to what you are studying, read the newspaper, watch the local news and learn about issues facing this area or the area where you are from

  1. Think about the message that you want to deliver – do you want to persuade the politician to vote a certain way? Do you want to give input about a public policy that you are interested in? Do you want to see changes to the

policy? Etc. a. Come up with statements that will enable you to make a strong pitch . . . , . . b. Use accurate facts about the issues you are presenting – Check the polit1c1an s website to learn his/her

position on the matter and then address the issue intelligently. IF the politician has already voted yes/no on a given issue, find something else to write about. It is imperative that you take the nece~sary steps to be educated on the issue so that if the politician voted no, you do not chastise them for votmg yes.

c. Do NOT write to a politician to pass legislation that has already been passed or write about legislation that has failed. Do not simply write to state that you like a person or their issues. Nor should you also write a politician asking them to explain their position on an issue as for the major issues most politicians have already done so (in interviews, through their votes, on their websites, etc.).

d. Your letter should not be an opinion piece or a stream of consciousness, you need to have a clear format with at least three paragraphs.

  1. Consider and INCLUDE statistics or infonnation that you can use to back up your point such as relevant bill numbers or other newspaper articles about a given topic. You need more than just your opinion, need facts to back up your points. You need at least THREE outside sources.

a. REMEMBER relevance -you would not write a US Senator about a TX law, nor would you probably write to Governor Abbott about legalizing marijuana.

b. Include both opinions and facts but do NOT plagiarize! Use direct quotes to back up points. c. Need to provide citations in the form of end notes for material that is directly copied. d. Letters that lack factual information to back up points will lose points e. lnfonnation should include citations (need at least 3-5 different outside scholarly sources), any

instances of plagiarism will result in an automatic F being assigned for your grade in POLS 230 I. Please remember, scholarly resources would include journal articles, books, and news organization websites. Scholarly sites do not include things like social media posts, maps, costs of items, Wikipedia, encyclopedia sources, ask.com, and other similar websites and sources.

  1. Letter should not be a thank you note nor should this be a request for information or a I ist of issues the politician should address. Instead, it should be focused on a political issue or piece of legislation that is important to you and you need to explain why the issue matters.
  2. Language – Use formal language but also remember that the letter is from you so phrases like “I think” and ··1 feel” are appropriate. Do not rant nor use foul or inappropriate language that would offend tlic politician as that will not help your case.
  3. Fonnat a. Th~_letter should be in proper business format (it must have both the mailing address of the person you’re

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