Writing letters to a newspaper’s editorial page may not directly pressure a politician to take a certain action, but they can work to move public opinion. Here are excerpts from a letter the Midland Daily News published from a reader on U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R):
To the editor:
Does anyone recall the last time Republican Congressman John Moolenaar conducted an official district office hours gathering or held a public town hall meeting with his disenfranchised and underserved constituents in Midland County?
Lately it seems Michigan’s 4th District U.S. House representative only takes/makes time to show up at member-only Midland Area Chamber of Commerce business groups, invitation-only Republican Party 4th District Roundups, his $45/plate “Picnic at the Tridge” fundraisers or at A(lmost) G(overnor) Bill Schuette’s annual $50/family Mid-Michigan BBQ at the Midland County Fairgrounds.
When, where and how is Congressman Moolenaar planning to explain to upset citizens right here in his hometown why he voted to repeal the healthcare coverage of 6,500 Midlanders and 887,000 Michiganders?
Please take the time to share his explanation with your partner, parents, friends, neighbors and co-workers since their conservative congressional representative doesn’t feel it’s necessary to do so.
A couple more letters like these and Moolenaar’s constituents might get the idea that he doesn’t want to face them.
Interested in writing a letter to the editor? Here are a few tips:
- Identify what local media outlet you want to contact, who to submit the letter to, and what their guidelines are. Generally speaking, 150 words is often the limit (though this one is a bit longer).
- Decide on what one or two topics you want to focus on. In 150 words, you can’t cover much more than that. This letter writer called attention to Moolenaar’s reluctance to meet constituents, and his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
- Write concisely. Get right to the point. Don’t use flowery language. You want the reader easily understand your message on the first read, because most won’t give it a second.
- Before sending, have a friend or two look it over for things such as proper spelling and grammar. Ask them if the letter is easy to understand.
- If you want your letter to be published, you will most likely have to give your full name. Newspapers don’t usually publish anonymous letters unless there is a very good reason. If you’re not willing to be named, you will probably not be published.
In the Lansing area, you can contact the following media outlets:
- Lansing State Journal: http://static.lansingstatejournal.com/letterstoeditor/
- MLive: firstname.lastname@example.org
- City Pulse: http://lansingcitypulse.com/contest-20-Letters-to-the-Editor.html – 250 words or less.
- New Citizen’s Press: Submit letters to Editor and Publisher Rina Risper at email@example.com (The New Citizens Press is not a publication for people of color only, but it does make a strong effort to cover items of interest to people of color that other publications may overlook)
- Between the Lines: Publication serving Michigan’s LGBT community. Note: as opposed to short letters to the editor BTL wants longer opinion pieces of about 600 words. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org with “BTL Opinion” in the subject line.