Communicating with Legislators on the State Budget
State legislators need to know there is wide support for fair and flat funding for Southern Illinois University. One way to express your position is to communicate with your state legislators. When writing a letter or email, it is very important to personalize your correspondence as much as you can to include information on how the funding of SIU and its programs impact you, your family and the communities who are served by the university. Members of the General Assembly may not always read a form letter, but they do place significant value on personal written correspondence from their constituents. This is an excellent opportunity to broaden members’ knowledge about SIU and the importance it plays in your community.
Here are some tips for writing effective letters to elected officials. Always:
- Be polite.
- Be clear and concise. Members of the General Assembly and their staffs are very busy. Keep your letter as short as possible, while including all relevant information.
- Identify yourself as a constituent (if you are) and/or as a student, faculty or staff member living in their district.
- Explain your issue clearly. You are the expert on your topic. Give enough information for the elected official to understand your position. If possible, illustrate the impact of proposed SIU budget cuts on you as well as on his/her district with personal stories and examples.
- Tell the member what action you want him/her to take; e.g., support funding for SIU without budget cuts.
- Request a response. Ask what his/her position on the issue is or if they can support reinstatement of funding for SIU.
- Don’t forget to include your contact information.