“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”


Research an issue and contact a member of Congress through writing a letter. In your letter you will state your position on a topic and provide evidence to support your view.

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ use to find your member of the House (though you know already), this has other helpful links

http://www.house.gov/representatives/ - has representatives, phone numbers, and committee assignments

https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm information to contact your Senator

*Members of Congress are much more likely to respond to their constituents and much less likely to respond if you live outside of their district/state.

Tips for your letter:

  • Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify it accordingly, e.g., House bill: (H. R. ____), Senate bill: (S.____).
  • Be courteous
  • Be concise
  • 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.
  • Avoid mass mailings


A good guide for contacting member of Congress (rationale for methods, sample letters, etc):

This is an example of a letter to a Representative or Senator. In an email sent from your Congressman's website, you will fill out your contact information and submit the body of the letter in the message section. (from American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)

The Honorable ______
Office Address
United States House of Representatives/United State Senate
City, State, Zip
Dear Representative/Senator ______:

As a scientist and a constituent, I urge you to support an increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) bringing funding to at least $32 billion for FY14. NIH research is the foundation for future medical breakthroughs, which will save lives and money. The federal government’s investment in research must be sustained in order to translate today’s scientific findings into tomorrow’s bedside treatments. NIH funding supports my research on <insert a summary of your research and the potential benefits of this research>. Recent discoveries, such as those listed below, are a direct result of robust funding for the NIH.

  • The death rate for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, has dropped 60% since 1940.
  • Through research to better understand the underlying molecular causes of cancer, NIH research has cut cancer deaths. In 2007, for the first time in history, the number of cancer deaths in the United States decreased.
  • In the 1950’s, 1 in 5 people died within 20 years of diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Today, those with type 1 diabetes are living longer and healthier lives.
  • The discovery of a type of antibody that neutralizes and protects against several subtypes of the flu. This super-antibody may be the key to protecting millions from influenza breakouts.

The money invested in NIH is redistributed to communities across the nation, including our district/state to create jobs and stimulates the local economy. In my lab we have <insert number of current and/or former technicians, postdocs and students> who are learning the technical and intellectual skills required for the high-paying jobs of the future. A federal investment in basic research is an investment in the heath and economic future of our nation. Please make medical and health research a higher priority for our nation by continuing the investment in the NIH. Thank you for your consideration and please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this issue further.


Your Name
Your Title
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip
Your Phone Number