Write Your Legislator

How to write your legislators

Who represents you?

You should write the legislator who represents you.  You can find out who represents you by clicking HERE.

Sample Letters

Legislators pay little or no attention to mass mailed post cards or form letters. Use these letters as a starting point, but tell your story in your own words, as this will have the biggest impact.

The best way to get your legislator's attention is with a short, well-reasoned letter.

Some suggestion when writing:

  • Make letter neat and easy to read (type or print).
  • Identify the issue at the top of the letter and if possible, identify the specific piece of legislation by House or Senate file number before writing.
  • Be brief; never write more than one page. Get to the point quickly i.e., "I hope you will support (oppose) House File___________"
  • Succinctly state your reasons for supporting or opposing the bill. Use terms they will understand and avoid abbreviations. Be polite and reasonable.
  • Finally, say "thanks" and sign your own name in handwriting. Include your home phone number and address so the legislator can verify you are a constituent, and hopefully, respond.

Here is a sample letter you can use to help get you started writing to tax committee members:

Together We Can Stop the Spread of AIS in Minnesota

Dear Sen. or Rep. (Name here):

I am writing in response to the continued spread of zebra mussels in Minnesota. The news media is reporting a 235% increase in Zebra mussel spread since 2009, despite the good laws enacted in 2011 and 2012.

Oversight of the implimentation of existing AIS laws is critically needed. We must use this crisis to create, impliment and fund a comprehensive statewide plan to address Asian Carp, zebra mussels, spiny water flea, round goby and even viruses like VHS as well as species and threats not even know yet. And then we must continue to monitor the results and demand effective implimentation.  As a legislator, you are in a much better position to do this than I.

The discoveries of zebra mussels in more Minnesota lakes like Winnibigosh and the discovery of more silver, or "flying" carp in Winona illustrate painfully the need for more action.  The discovovery of two boats about to be launched into pristine waters highlights that inspection and decontamination can work.  In both cases, however, the inspector was part of a program funded by local governments and residents.  Thousands of lakes are unprotected.  We can be successful, but we need urgent commitment.

  • We need a statewide framework to address the AIS issue at a watershed, region and intra-state level.  Locals have been doing heroic work as a stop gap for the last two years, but only a watershed approach will stop the spread. Local Governments, Counties and Lake Associations must be coordinated and funded at the watershed level for programs to be successful. Watershed's and therefore zebra mussels cross political boundaries.  Only with a large scale approach can we be successful.

  • In 2011 MLR succeeded in getting Western Regional Protocols listed in statute. Now we must legislate that they are implemented.

  • Greater cooperation between agencies, including partnerships between DNR and Department of Transportation, USFS, USGS and US Wildlife to set up inspection and decontamination stations at Minnesota boarders and weigh stations around the state.

  • Create a meaningful intra-State panel to coordinate AIS efforts between States, at a regional level.

  • Reliable, dedicated and adequate funding - local communities, counties and lakeshore owners simply do not have the resources to meet this challenge. The State must step up to protect the state's waters.

  • Too much is at stake - we can and must stop the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species, AIS in Minnesota.

And finally, the explosion of lakes infested with zebra mussels, a 235% increase since 2009, is a signal that we have reached a tipping point.  Unless we make real gains on the problem this year, far too much of Minnesota's water heritage and resource will be lost.

Local property owners, desperately imposing Lake Improvement Districts, LIDs - essentially taxing themselves, to stop this threat.  They spend as much or more than the state each year.  They cannot continue to go it alone.  The state must step up to protect our Lakes.

Please work to improve the current AIS legislation.

Thank you for all your hard work on my behalf.  I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

(your name, address, phone number)

Or pick from the ideas below, and write your own letter:

Minnesota needs to preserve our heritage of "Land of 10,000 Lakes" - too much of our economy and jobs depend on healthy lakes.

Or

Minnesota depends on fishing for jobs. Bait shops, boat companies, dock companies, sporting goods stores all
depend on the 2+ million anglers in Minnesota. Fishing generates $3 billion in revenue and 43,800 jobs. Please work to protect Minnesota lakes from aquatic invasive species, especially the spread of zebra mussels.

or

Tourism in Minnesota is an $11+ BILLION dollar industry. We cannot afford not to protect MN lakes from
aquatic invasive species infestations. Zebra mussels cannot be allowed to be spread to any more lakes and rivers in Minnesota. Please support bold and robust legislation to halt the spread and follow up with oversight to make sure that the programs being implimented are effective and well administered! Lakes are our lifeblood and our heritage.

or

In 2008 Minnesotans voted to support the Legacy Amendment designed to restore and protect Minnesota lakes. A very small amount of the monies are spent in protecting Minnesota lakes. Aquatic Invasive Species, and especially zebra mussels, are spreading rapidly, creating a crisis. Zebra mussels will destroy our fisheries and make beaches impossible to use. Please allocate a large portion of those monies for protecting Minnesota lakes and rivers from further invasive infestations. Minnesotans voted YES and I ask you to please do the same for our lakes!

Or

Many Minnesota lakes have become infested at a rapid rate with zebra mussels, a 235% increase since 2009. This prevents the enjoyment of our natural resources for generations to come. Please support and provide oversight of the robust laws protecting Minnesota lakes from the spread of zebra mussels, including transport into the state at major Interstate Highway entrance points. These invaders must be stopped at our borders.

 

Property Tax System Out of Control

Dear Rep. :

The property tax system is completely out of control. A recent report by the State Auditor found that over the last decade, local government spending has declined in inflation adjusted dollars while property taxes have increased 100%.

I see little connection between my taxes and the services I use and no connection between the tax and my ability to pay it. For folks that on a fixed (or declining) income like retirees, the problem is particularly acute.

Board of appeals meetings are usually held mid-week and mid-day. If I can make it and present my case they tell me, "If you don't like it, sell." I feel very strongly that the game is rigged against me.

The state is taxing its shore line to death and efforts to pass updated shoreland rules have stalled.  There are incentives for farm land, forest and wet land protection and restoration.  Incentives for best management practices on shore land are long overdue.

Please take a stand for property owners and the lakes this session.

Thanks again for all the work you are doing.

Sincerely,

(your name, address, phone number)