Final Project: Persuasive Letter to a Politician

In this final project, you choose a political issue you know about and care about, find a federal, state, or local politician to write to about that issue, research your issue, and write a persuasive letter to the politician.

Note: Do not assume your instructor has any position or xxx on the issue you choose.

Picking a Topic

Start by choosing a civic or political issue about which you are knowledgeable; the issue may be local (municipal), statewide, national, or international. The following are some of the broad issues that might concern you:

See this big list of topics or this list of local topics for other ideas (the planning steps are not required.

Narrowing

If you choose one of these broad issues, you need to narrow it into a manageable issue that could be addressed through a particular action. Issues other than these may also be potential subjects for this final project; be careful, however, to narrow your issue so that it could be addressed through a particular action.

For narrowing, read this discussion (not required), and use this strategy (not required).

Researching and Planning

After you sufficiently narrow your chosen issue, decide on the senator, representative, or council member to whom you will write a letter that expresses your concerns about the issue.

Search the Web to obtain the address of your senator, representative, or council member; you should be able to find e-mail and land addresses, as well as webpage address for her/his political office, along with fax and phone numbers.

Use the textbook for this course to reseach your issue and document the information you borrow and use. Also, take a look at this overview of information researching and consider using this strategy to conduct your research (not required).

Writing

After carefully considering what action you would like to urge the recipient of your letter to take in connection with your narrow enough issue, write a one- to two-page letter persuading the senator, representative, or council member to act.

Include the proper form of address (The Honorable John Smith, or Dear Senator Smith, or The Honorable Jane Doe, or Dear Representative Doe).

Identify yourself as a member of his or her district or state.

State your position on the sufficiently narrow issue in your first paragraph I urge you to support/oppose _________, because ____________).

Present facts, details, examples, and illustrations, as you explain how the issue affects you personally; be very specific, as you discuss how you and your community could be benefitted or harmed if legislation for this issue gets enacted.

Illustrations, charts, graphs, and tables are welcome as long as they are to-the-point and as long as you document their source.

Offer to provide additional information about the issue.

Keep the letter polite, constructive, and brief.

Your letter can be more than 2 pages as long as it is succinct and necessary to your point of view. Remember to use the proper heading for following pages.

Use headings in the text of your letter to make it more readable and scannable. See headings

Revising

Your instructor will review and return your letter with constructive comments for improvement (if needed). After examining instructor feedback, revise and submit an improved letter to your insructor.

Programs and information provided by davidm@austincc.edu.