Engaging With Your Elected Officials

Engaging With Your Elected Officials

As a citizen and a constituent, you have the right to contact your elected officials on any issue at any time.

As a voter, your opinions are important to them.

And as a member of the Jewish community, it’s important to make your voice heard.

Most of the 19-member Illinois U.S. Congressional Delegation (House and Senate), Illinois state legislators and Chicago City Aldermen and Alderwomen have been supportive of Israel and our Jewish community. They deserve our thanks, as do all of our state’s constitutional officers—Governor, Lt. Governor, State Comptroller, State Treasurer and Secretary of State—and many area mayors.

It’s truly important to maintain a balance between urging action, expressing displeasure, and saying “thank you.”

Here is how to get started:

Locating contact information for your elected officials

Visit these websites to find the names and contact information for your elected officials:

Writing your elected officials (E-mail or Letter)

Elected officials pay attention to mail from their constituents—especially if they send personal  communications rather than mass, duplicated messages.

Here are some tips for effective e-mails or letters:

  • Your letter should address a single topic or issue.
  • If it is being sent by postal mail, it should be typed.
  • It should be no more than one page (or the equivalent).
  • Use your own language, even if you are working from talking points.
  • Start by saying why you are writing, such as “I am urging your support for” or “I want to thank you for voting against…”
  • Give a brief summary of your position on the issue, including how the issue affects you and your community/their constituents. Use numbers and real-life examples wherever possible to convey real effects.
  • Ask for a specific action, such as voting for or against a bill or a change in policy—or keeping up their support for Israel or against antisemitism.
  • Thank them.
  • Sign the letter with your name, full mailing address, phone number and e-mail address.

Calling your elected officials

Phone calls are an excellent way to register your opinion quickly to ensure your voice is heard.

Here’s some information to keep in mind when you call:

  • A member of their staff is most likely to answer the phone, which is fine. Elected officials rely on their staff to help manage the many legislative issues they face and to determine how to vote on key issues, including those of interest to the Jewish community.
  • It is important to identify yourself as a constituent and tell the staff member you would like to leave a message regarding a particular bill or issue. Your message can be as simple as "I want to thank the Senator for her support of aid to Israel” or “I want to urge the Senator to vote for the Iran Sanctions Act, S. 123."
  • All communications are tallied by staff.
  • Depending on who you are calling, you may be asked for your address.

If you have any questions or would like assistance, please connect with us: gov@juf.org

One Final Note

If you donate to politicians, make sure the candidates of your choice know how important Israel is to you.