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Chronic Neuroimmune Diseases
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Last updated January 1, 2014

Making Your Voice Heard

© 2001 Melissa Kaplan

Note: In the aftermath of anthrax-infiltrated regular mail in 2001/2002, all paper mail addressed to the Senate, House and other federal offices in Washington, D.C., is carefully checked for contamination. This delays the delivery of paper mail for several weeks. So, if you want to get your message delivered quickly, it is better to use phone, fax or email.

We've all been where just getting up to brush our teeth has been the major activity of the day, one that results in an immediate collapse. Fortunately, there are several options available for anyone who wantsto get a letter out to senators and representatives:



1. The local office. Look for the senator's or representative's local telephone number in the State listing of your local telephone book.

2. The Washington office. (Go to or to find telephone numbers if you don't already have them, or see #6 below.)

3. Call the Capitol switchboard toll-free at 1-888-723-5246 and tell them who your senator/rep is, and they will put you through to their office - where you can tell them briefly what you are concerned about. You can also ask for their fax number. If you live in the 202 area, call the switchboard at 202-225-3121.

4. For State legislatures, look in the State pages of your phone book, or locate your legislators through sites such as National Conference of State Legislatures. For state governors, look in the State pages of your phone book, or use FirstGov's Governors list.



5. Send your fax to the senator's or representative's Washington or local office; you can find their fax numbers on their individual House and Senate website. Or, you can call the local office on a day you are feeling well enough to and get both their fax numbers to save for future use.


Note: if what you are writing about has a deadline (such as an upcoming vote or committee meeting) of less than 4-5 weeks, you should send your communication by fax, email or phone the office. Delivery of paper mail is delayed several weeks due to decontamination processes.

6. Write the local office (see phone book's State listing for the address).

7. Write the Washington office:

Honorable [Senator Name]
U.S. Senate
Washington DC 20510

Honorable [Representative Name]
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington DC 20515





8. Up to emailing but your representative doesn't have an email address? Go to - there is a form there you can use to send email to those who think they can hide from us by not having email...

9. Senate email addresses (for those who have them) can be found through as well as:

League of Women Voters

10. Also check out Contact the Congress, a bi-lingual English/Spanish site for for congressional webmail and email.


11. If you live alone (or without any other adult) and don't feel comfortable asking a friend to do it, call on your local support group if there is one and ask if someone can type a letter for you. Send the person an SASE to send the letter back to you for signature and mailing, or arrange to pick it up or have it delivered to you for signing and sending off. Such a letter, like phone calls, doesn't have to be long and involved:

"I've been ill for X years, the CDC has consistently ignored the severity and scope of this disease, has failed to use the meager funds actually allocated for its research, and the AACFS has failed to address the problems in a meaningful manner. Do something about it NOW."


Identify Yourself On Written Communications!
One thing you must do, whether you are writing a letter to be sent through the regular mail, or sending a fax, or sending an email, is to make sure your name, address, city, state and zip are included and, if you can, your phone number, either at the top of the letter or under your signature (or at the end of your email).

Not only is it courteous, it enables someone to get back to you, even if it is nothing more than a form letter thanking you for contacting The Honorable Whomever. And who knows? You may be surprised, as I was one day, when I answered my phone and found the health care specialist in my state representative's local office on the line, with questions the representative had about some points in a letter that I cc'd her on.


One final observation
Activists tell us that handwritten letters are better received than typed or emailed one. Any senator, representative or government official who gives less credence, time or weight to a typed letter simply because it is typed rather than handwritten, is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

To penalize a person, or discount their request or views simply because they are, for any number of physical or neurological reasons, unable to handwrite or write legibly enough to make the effort worthwhile, is discrimination, pure and simple. You might mention that in your typed or emailed letter - it is bound to get the attention of the aide whose job it is to read all the mail received in the office.


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