In an effort to promote and spread the conservative message, we’d like to encourage Tea Party members to write Letters to The Editor to your local papers. Don’t be intimidated by them. Editors are looking for your opinion – you don’t have to be an expert. They are not difficult to write and are read by a great many people.

You can take any local, state or federal policy issue or piece of legislation and apply the Tea Party principles. Look for ways to promote the following:

Limited government

Free markets

Free speech

Individual liberty

Personal responsibility

Avoid social issues and stick to fiscal ones. Social issues have that special way of being divisive. Most people can agree on the fiscal issues. If discussing illegal immigration (which has elements of both) you can always highlight the fiscal impact on all Americans.

Helpful Strategies:

Respond to a previous article or opinion piece. You can refute or support the piece or address pertinent facts that were ignored. Controversy in particular increases readership.

Address current legislation or an issue that’s been in the news.                                                        

Promote your favorite candidate.

You must include your name, address and daytime phone number with your letter. Instructions for submitting a letter to the editor are usually at the bottom of the page where they appear or on the paper’s Web site. Find out from your local paper the best way to send a letter. Some papers like them mailed, others prefer faxes, while others favor e-mails.

Do not send attachmentsInclude the letter in the body of the email. Address it “Dear Editor.”

Make one clear logical argument. The piece should be in favor of or critical of a particular position taken by the paper or described in an article. Support your statements with statistics, anecdotes or results of studies.

If responding to an article, cite the article. Be sure to mention the title and date of the article you’re responding to in one of your first two sentences. For example “Dear Editor, Your recent coverage of the issue of the uninsured (“Healthcare in America,” May 13, 2005) was a thoughtful piece…”

Be brief. Generally, 3-4 paragraphs are ideal. It’s best kept under 200 words. If you can’t contain the piece to that length, consider asking someone to help you edit it, or write a 750-word op-ed instead. Editors cut from the bottom,so make your point at the beginning. You want to control what gets cut.

Try Humor. If the piece lends itself to that.

Express your opinion with conviction and passionBut do avoid vitriolic, disrespectful language or hyper-partisan rhetoric. Such letters will likely not be published and if they are will turn readers off. Be sure to back up your claims with documented facts from reliable sources. This gives you credibility.

If appropriate, mention your Representatives and/or SenatorsThis will ensure the message will reach them. Congressional staffers monitor media “hits” on a daily basis.

Proofread!  If possible, have someone else look at it. They may find a mistake you overlooked.

Consider sending a similar letter to different papers. The letters can be similar but should not be identical. Do not cc other papers in your email. Send them separately. You can usually find the contact info on the newspaper’s website under “contact us.”

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