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NYSVMS Legislative Guide - Communicating with Lawmakers
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Communicating with lawmakers


You have several options when reaching out to your Senator or Assembly member: letters, telephone calls, emails, faxes and even personal visits. When it comes to sharing your opinion on pending legislation, choose the method of communication you will be most comfortable with.


 Elected officials rely on their constituents’ expertise in particular areas to help them determine how to cast their votes. This makes you a vital link in the legislative process.


New York State Veterinary Medical Society’s Legislative Representative, Thomas Gosdeck, Esq., can best advise you on how to phrase written and/or verbal communication when describing or discussing the Society’s position on issues of importance to veterinarians.


Letters


Elected officials are most frequently contacted via letter.


Before writing, be sure to verify that you are reaching out to the legislator that represents your particular legislative district. If your practice and home are located in different districts, contact the legislators in both districts.


Many Assembly members and Senators read their mail daily. Legislative office staff keeps daily or weekly tallies of incoming mail on pending issues, so your opinion counts.


When contacting a legislator via letter, be sure to use your business or personal stationary and always include your name, address and a telephone number. Make sure your letter is legible and avoid form letters.


When reaching out to your legislators, you should also send a copy to the legislator’s district office.


Forms of Address


The Governor

State of New York

Executive Chambers

State Capitol

Albany, NY 12224

 

Salutation: Dear Governor …

Complimentary Close: Respectfully

 

Committee Chair Senate

The Honorable Chair, Committee On …

New York Senate

Albany, NY 12247

 

Salutation: Dear Mr. Chairman or Dear Madam Chairwoman

Complimentary Close: Sincerely

 

New York Senator

The Honorable …

New York Senate

Albany, NY 12247

 

Salutation: Dear Senator …

Complimentary Close: Sincerely

 

Committee Chair Assembly

The Honorable Chair, Committee On …

New York Assembly

Albany, NY 12248

 

Salutation: Dear Mr. Chairman or Dear Madam Chairwoman

Complimentary Close: Sincerely

 

New York Member of Assembly

The Honorable …

New York Assembly

Albany, NY 12248

 

Salutation: Dear Assemblyman or Assemblywoman …

Complimentary Close: Sincerely

 

Email and fax

 

Email has replaced letters sent via snail mail in many cases, as a faster way to communicate with legislators, especially when you are voicing an opinion about a particularly pressing matter.

 

Do not attempt to fax material to a legislative office unless the office has asked you to fax that material. Lawmakers rely heavily on their fax machines to communicate with their district offices and often resent their fax machines being tied up with constituent correspondence when they need them most.

 

Telephone

 

Be sure to do your homework before you call.

 

Research the NYSVMS position on the issue by reading the current NYSVMS position paper

 

It may also be beneficial to speak with NYSVMS Legislative Representative Thomas Gosdeck, Esq., or NYSVMS Legislative Committee Chair Walter McCarthy, DVM, to gain a complete understanding of the proposed legislation and why the NYSVMS either supports or opposes it.

 

Ask to speak with your Senator or Assembly member when you call, but if you are unable to reach him or her personally, ask to speak with the legislative assistant handling the issue.

 

It is best to reach out to your lawmakers at their district offices.

 

NYSVMS Legislative Guide Continued

 

Click here for the do's and don'ts when meeting face-to-face with your legislator.

Click here for ways to get involved.

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