October 19, 2008

October 19, 2008
Letters to the Editor

Welcome to another Sunday in my life. It has been another great one and I hope yours has been as well.

I often speak about the need for all Americans to become more active in using their voices about issues that matter to them. This is where you discover what you are passionate about in life. For example, I am very passionate about affordable quality health care, financial security, prevention of cruelty to animals and equal rights for all Americans.

What about you? What are you passionate about? Well whatever your answer, do something about it. One of the best ways to get the attention of political officials is to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper. So here's some tips to help you the next time you use your voice.


Candidates or their staff members read local newspapers, especially the editorial pages where letters to the editor are printed. One of the most efficient and effective ways to educate the public and candidates about issues of concern to older Americans is by writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper or senior audience newspaper.

If printed, a letter to the editor can reach thousands of people. Only two or three staff people, and perhaps the candidate will see a letter written directly to them. The following tips can help ensure that your letter gets published.

Be brief. Write a letter of one page or less, double spaced. The shorter your letter, the better your chance of getting important points printed and not having your letter edited because of space limits. (Recommend not more than 150 words.)

When possible, refer or react/respond to a "news hook," one of the paper's past editorials or to a past news article covering the issue about which you are writing. When drafting the letter, please use this form to refer to the "hook": "Editor Phil Gailey ("Challenges loom while they snooze," June 10) was right on target . . . . ")

Stick to one major point, if you can. Those 150 words go fast!

Mention the candidate by name. Praise the candidate for his or her position on an issue, or say that you hope he or she will support (or oppose) a measure.

Send a copy of your letter to the candidate, just in case your letter is not printed. If possible, include article you're responding to.

Be concise, accurate, and to the point if urging support or opposition to specific issue.

Emphasize how ordinary citizens in your state or congressional district will be affected by a specific issue

Try to make your style lively. Interesting examples, a little wit, or vivid language will help get the letter published.

Include your name, address, email address, and phone number, although only your name and town will be published.

Solicit others whose judgment you respect to write letters as well. Pick people with centrist views; even talented, articulate people may not be suitable for letters to the editor if their views tend to be unconventional.

Sign the letter. Submit on newspapers online site.

See that was not hard. Use those useful tips next time you decide to use your voice to help make sure it is heard by as many as possible.

I hope you had a great weekend like I did. Good luck next week with whatever life brings your way.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab