NBFAA Advises Members on How to Work with Legislators

With current legislation pending on issues such as VoIP and Licensing Reciprocity, association urges involvement

Late last month, the U.S. House of Representatives Chief Administrative Officer announced a new feature to the Write Your Representative online service designed to reduce unwanted mass e-mail by requiring a user to complete a simple puzzle before being allowed to send a message to a member. The idea is that only an actual person would be able to complete the puzzle and not mass e-mail programs. To use this service to send e-mails to your representative go to http://www.house.gov/writerep and follow the instructions.

Due to more advanced anti-spamming technology and the exuberant amount of e-mail House and Senate members receive, NBFAA recommends its members return to the days of faxing and postage as a first choice. Sending your representative a fax is just as quick as e-mail and isn’t blocked by filters. Postage on the other hand will take a little longer as all mail must pass through several security screenings before it may be delivered to the individual.

Whatever method you select, remember to include an address

The most important, yet often most overlooked, aspect of a written correspondence to a member of Congress is the return mailing address. Without this incredibly important piece of information, the member of Congress, or more likely his staff, will immediately stop reading and file it in the trash bin. With so many contrived and mass mailings these days, legislative staffs only have time to address correspondence from their district.

Make sure you send your correspondence to the right person

When sending a letter to a member of Congress, be sure it is to the person that represents you. Contacting a member who does not represent you may be a bigger waste of time than failing to include an address.

If you are unsure who represents you, refer to the search options on the following Web sites: www.house.gov and www.senate.gov. This site includes complete contact information for every representative and senator.

Keep the NBFAA informed

Whenever you make contact with a Congressional representative or staff, be sure to keep NBFAA Government Relations informed. Any response or feedback you receive, please pass this information along to John Chwat at gov.info@alarm.org.

You should also fax a copy of any letter you send to Congress to (703) 684-7594 or e-mail them to gov.info@alarm.org. John and his staff keep the correspondence from our members and consolidate for use when talking to specific members of Congress. This helps them magnify our voices and expand our influence.