Contact Your Legislator
To contact your Legislators, please visit the following websites:
Find my Legislators
Massachusetts General Court
Communications Protocol: Tips On Telephoning Your Representatives
To find your Legislator's direct-dial phone number, you may use the Massachusetts Legislature's Online Directory or call the Massachusetts State House Switchboard at (617) 722-2000 and ask for your Senator's and/or Representative's office. Remember that telephone calls are often taken by a staff member, not the Legislator. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue to which you wish to comment.
After identifying yourself, tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as:
"Please tell Senator/Representative (Name) that I support/oppose (S.___/H.____)."
You will also want to state reasons for your support or opposition to the bill. Ask for your Senator's or Representative's position on the bill. You may also request a written response to your telephone call.
Communications Protocol: Tips On Writing Your Legislator
The letter is the most popular choice of communication with a congressional office. If you decide to write a letter, this list of helpful suggestions will improve the effectiveness of the letter: Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If your letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify it accordingly, e.g., House bill: H. ____, Senate bill: S.____.
Be courteous, to the point, and include key information, using examples to support your position. Address only one issue in each letter; and, if possible, keep the letter to one page. When writing to the Chair of a Committee or Speaker of the House, it is proper to address them as: "Dear Mr. Chairman or Madam Chairwoman:" or "Dear Mr. Speaker: " When addressing correspondence, write as follows:
To a Senator:
The Honorable (full name)
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Senator ______________:
To a Representative:
The Honorable (full name)
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Representative ________________:
Communications Protocol: Tips on emailing your Reps and Senators
Generally, the same guidelines apply as with writing letters to your Legislator. You may find and email your Representatives and Senators directly from this website. Click here to connect to the Legislature's Home Page, find your Rep or Senator alphabetically or by city/town; click on their email address link and type your letter. Then press the "send" button on the email form.
Inviting your Legislator to visit your Restaurant:
Get some of your local restaurant colleagues together (or even other small business owners with similar interests) and invite your Senators or Representative to a meeting at your restaurant. Host an event, whether a meet-and-greet, a fundraiser or an issues forum. Having an elected official come to your restaurant and see how you operate your business is one of the best ways to help them understand what it takes to own and operate a restaurant.
Planning your Restaurant visit:
-The best time to host an event is during a legislative recess or on days when the Legislature is not in session. Steve Clark, the MRA's Director of Government Affairs, maintains a schedule of formal sessions of the Legislature. Steven and Membership Services Director Lon Breedlove can offer invaluable assistance and can be reached at 508-303-9905.
-Issue a specific, rather than open-ended, invitation. Invite your legislator and some of his/her staff. Remember, we're in the hospitality business. If the meeting is in the morning, provide coffee, tea, pastries, etc. Your goal is not to make it festive, this is a meeting to discuss business, but use all the tools you have at your disposal.
-Let the lawmaker's office know if there is a specific issue you want to discuss during the event. There are thousands of bills pending at all times on Beacon Hill. No single legislator can be aware of them all. They will want to be as informed as possible so they can discuss your issues with you intelligently.
-Give your employees a little background on your legislator. Reps and Senators enjoy being recognized and acknowledged, just like everyone else. Encourage your employees to address them as "Representative" Jones or "Senator" Smith.-Always follow up with a thank you note afterwards! Ask for a business card before they leave so you will have their complete address or click here to go to the Massachusetts Legislature's directory where you'll find the address and room number of your legislator. Just a brief note, thanking them for their time and interest is all that is required.
Visiting Beacon Hill:
-Make yourself heard with a personal visit with your representative, senator or their staff. Here are a few suggestions to make your visit as effective as possible:
-Meeting with a member of the Legislature or a legislative staffer is a very effective way to convey a message about a specific legislative issue. Below are some suggestions to consider when planning a visit to a legislative office.
-Plan Your Visit Carefully. Be clear about what it is you want to achieve; determine in advance which member or committee staff you need to meet with to achieve your purpose.
-Make an Appointment. When attempting to meet with a member, contact the Appointment Secretary/Scheduler. Explain your purpose and who you represent. It is easier for legislative staff to arrange a meeting if they know what you wish to discuss and your relationship to the area or interests represented by the member.
-Be Prompt and Patient. When it is time to meet with a member, be punctual and be patient. It is not uncommon for a representative or senator to be late, or to have a meeting interrupted, due to the member's crowded schedule. If interruptions do occur, be flexible. When the opportunity presents itself, continue your meeting with a member's staff.
-Be Prepared. Whenever possible, bring to the meeting information and materials supporting your position. Members are required to take positions on many different issues. In some instances, a member may lack important details about the pros and cons of a particular matter. It is therefore helpful to share with the member information and examples that demonstrate clearly the impact or benefits associated with a particular issue or piece of legislation.
-Be Political. Members of the Legislature want to represent the best interests of their district. Wherever possible, demonstrate the connection between what you are requesting and the interests of the member's constituency. If possible, describe for the member how you or your group can be of assistance to him/her. Where it is appropriate, remember to ask for a commitment.
-Be Responsive. Be prepared to answer questions or provide additional information, in the event the member expresses interest or asks questions. Follow up the meeting with a thank you letter that outlines the different points covered during the meeting, and send along any additional information and materials requested.
For any additional questions or advice on legislative protocol, feel free to contact:
Director of Government Affairs, MRA