Tips on speaking up for the reserves

Meet your elected officials face-to-face

The most effective way to speak up for reserves and impact relevant policy is to meet your elected officials face-to-face. Take the opportunity to tell your locally elected officials how much you value the reserve in your community or state. Thank them for supporting the reserve and describe at least one reason why you care about the place. Reach out to both state and federal officials—your Congressional representatives have an office near you.

Send a letter to your elected officials

Your elected officials want and need to hear from you on issues you consider important. Personal messages allow you to present your position without interruption. Keep your letter to one page, one issue, and state its purpose in the first paragraph. Always be courteous. Close your letter by asking for a written response. You can send the letter through email or fax when a vote or decision on an issue is imminent. Be sure to include your fax number on your letter in case your lawmaker decides to fax you back. Mailing letters to members of Congress has become more difficult in these days of heightened security at the U.S. Capitol and in our country. While written letters have a personal impact and are easily the most powerful way to communicate with legislators outside of a personal visit, they can also take the longest to reach a legislator.

Use social media

Often the best way to reach those who hold office is through social media, as it can be seen by more people and allow for a quick reply. When reaching out to officials or government agencies, remember to include their social media handle (tag their account on Facebook or mention their handle on Twitter) and provide a URL link to the topic at hand. Stay on point and be respectful and brief. Here are some resources for reaching congressional representatives on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Social Media Directory: This wiki tracks who uses which forms of social media. The webmaster is constantly adding new offices of federal, state, and local government, campaigns, and government agencies. Check back often as this webpage is frequently updated.

U.S. Government Twitter Lists

U.S. Government Facebook Pages

U.S. Government Instagram Accounts

  • @HouseDemocrats
  • @HouseGOP
  • @BarackObama

Write a letter to an editor

Studies show that people read the letters to editors more than they read editorials by journalists. Check your local paper’s guidelines for writing letters. Be sure to include your name, address, and telephone number on your submission. Address your letter “Dear Editor.” Keep it to half a page or less and one topic. State the purpose in the first paragraph. By discussing current issues, your letters stand a better chance of getting printed. Don’t be discouraged if your letter is not accepted; most publications receive more letters than they can print. But keep trying!

Call a talk show

Calling a television or radio talk shows in your area will convey your message to thousands of listeners. If you regularly tune into such a program and the topic is relevant to coastal environments, call in to offer an opinion, ask a question, or tell a story related to the reserves. It helps to jot down a few notes in case you get “stage fright.” Also, try contacting the program to urge them to cover a specific reserve-related issue. Provide contact information for your local reserve. If they take you up on the idea, be sure to inform your friends and family, and encourage them to listen and actively participate in the show.