There are many ways to get involved with us and do your small part in helping to keep America safe.
A letter to the editor (LTE) is a short letter to a local newspaper or publication that gives your opinion on an issue, and calls on your lawmakers or fellow community members to take action.
To find the newspapers in your area, visit this site and click on your state. Select the newspaper(s) that you would like to submit a letter to and search the newspaper's website for letter-to-the-editor submission guidelines.
Letter to the Editor Strategies
- Check the newspaper’s print guidelines – Most newspapers have a web site. Check the paper’s web site or the editorial page of the print version for information about submitting a letter to the editor. Some newspapers have an online submission form which you can use.
- Keep it brief and to the point – Letters should be concise – typically newspapers have a word limit of about 250 words (about 3 paragraphs). Editors are less likely to print long letters.
- Make your letter timely – Tie the subject of your letter to a recent article, editorial or column. Use that article as a hook for communicating your message. Small-circulation newspapers usually print many of the letters they receive. It is more challenging to get a letter printed in a major metropolitan newspaper, so don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t get printed.
- Localize your letter – Explain how the entire community will be affected. Lend credibility to your letter by noting your professional experiences in the community that prompted you to write on this topic.
- Be mindful of the tone of your letter – The tone of your letter can either support or overpower the substance of the message you are trying to communicate. Therefore, choosing and controlling tone is an important element of your communication.
- Write about good news, not just bad – Thank the paper (when appropriate) for its positive and accurate coverage of a national security issue. Or thank a policymaker for being a champion for freedom and national security in the state or community.
- Include your name, title, address and daytime phone number – Editors like to confirm that the letter was actually written by the person whose name is on it. Also be sure to provide your professional title and affiliation, as it lends credibility to your letter.
- Consider other newspapers for publication – Many metropolitan areas have free weekly community newspapers that go to thousands of homes. Many cities also have newspapers for specific ethnic groups. Consider sending your letter to the editors of these other widely-read publications.
- Mail a copy of your published letter to your state legislators and members of Congress – Policymakers subscribe to local newspapers in their districts. You can continue to build your relationship with them by sending copies of your letter.
Opinion Editorial Strategies
- Focus your message on one key point – Although there may be many elements to the national security issue you want to address, you will have more success if your editorial is focused and easy to understand.
- Keep it short – Typically newspapers will accept op-eds of 500-800 words. Magazines may accept slightly larger pieces, but check the publication’s requirements before you submit your column.
- Tell the readers upfront why they should care - Give voice to the citizen patriots, the regular Moms and Dads, and everyday Americans that aren’t often heard by telling readers why they should care.
- Offer specific recommendations - “An op-ed is not a news story that simply describes a situation; it is your opinion about how to improve matters.” Make your call to action something concrete and realistic.
- Make your op-ed timely – Editors will be looking for op-ed columns that are compelling and which engage readers in the public debate about a timely issue.
- Review the opinion pages – By reading the opinion pages, you can get a sense of what is being covered and what is not being addressed. You can also get an idea of the types of op-eds that the editor publishes.
If you decide to write a letter or email, use this list of helpful suggestions to improve its effectiveness:
- 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. R. ____), 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.
This is an example of a letter to a Representative or Senator. In an email sent from your Congressman's website, you will fill out your contact information and submit the body of the letter in the message section.
The Honorable ________
United States House of Representatives/United State Senate
City, State, Zip
Dear Representative/Senator ______________:
I am a constituent, and am writing today to express my strong support to temporarily suspend all federal funding for refugee resettlement programs, until each and every refugee admitted to this nation can be adequately vetted — and until our physical and financial infrastructures can support them. This includes any funding in the fiscal year 2016 Omnibus spending bill.
In light of the disclosure that at least one of the Paris terrorists reached Europe as a designated refugee, it is very important that Congress act quickly to remove the immediate threat that this program presents, while working to implement substantial reforms and safeguards before it is allowed to resume. It is time for Congress to assert its power of the purse and hit the brakes on the Obama Administration’s plans for Syrian refugees.
This issue is very important to me and many other constituents in your district.
I look forward to your response.
Your City, State, Zip
Your Phone Number
Tips on telephoning Congress:
The phone numbers of the offices of your senators and representative are available on their websites. You can also call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your senators' and/or representative's office.
Remember that telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue about 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.R.___)."
You will also want to state reasons for your support or opposition to the bill. Ask for your senators' or representative's position on the bill. You may also request a written response to your telephone call.
How to contact your member of Congress
House of Representatives
To write a letter or call your representative, visit this website and click on your representative's name to take you to his/her personal website. Search around for the "Contact Me" link and use this to either find the phone number for the office or the form to submit a letter.
Don't know who your representative is?
Go to house.gov and put your zip code (9-digit preferred, but 5-digit OK) in the upper right corner of the page.
To write a letter or call your senator, visit this website, find your senator and click on the webform link to submit a letter. If you want to make a phone call, click on the senator's name to go his/her personal website and use the "Contact Me" link to find the phone number for the office.
Don't know who your senators are?
Go to this website and on the top of the page, select the state you live in.
Yes, I Want to Help Start a Local Chapter for ACT for America!
Add your name to the group of thousands of people who have already applied!
We need your involvement to ensure that ACT for America becomes the most formidable grassroots citizen action network in our nation.
Chapter Leader Description: A person who has made the decision to use their unique set of skills and available time to pro-actively lead a local group of people ranging from just a few friends to hundreds of volunteers towards the protection of their families, their community and their nation.
Successful Chapters Leaders: Make a difference in their communities, by educating and engaging in the arena of ideas, and motivating their local members to do the same.
- In Texas, one of our local chapters sought and won revisions to school textbooks that painted an inaccurate picture of Islamic history.
- In Massachusetts, our local units have worked together to promote legislation that would protect our daughters from FGM and other barbaric practices.
- Nationally, our grassroots members convinced Congress to create the now famous Select Committee on Benghazi.
None of these things would have happened without strong, active, and engaged local chapters.
Working together, we can be agents of change in our own communities. Our leaders can ignore single voices, but when we act as one, we are impossible to ignore.
Each Chapter Leader will be given a mentor for ideas and encouragement along with suggested chapter projects through action alerts, newsletters, and a Chapter Leader Manual. You will also be granted access to our secured Chapter Leader portal with all the resources you'll need to become a successful Chapter right from the start. Just remember, this is not a sprint, but a much needed marathon.
The national office will vet each applicant before approval. Co-chapter leadership positions are also available and encouraged to enhance the strength and viability of new chapters.
Thank you for your efforts! Due to the overwhelming response, please allow 3 – 14 days for us to respond.
Please fill out the Chapter Leader Application form below.
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