Tutorial for “Write a Persuasive Letter to a Government Official”

Tips

Make your stance clear from the start, backing it up with convincing evidence or reasons why the reader should accept your opinion. Logical arguments combined with emotional appeals work well. Don't overstate your position or use inflammatory expressions, or the reader will not take you seriously. If you expect a response, ask for one.

Steps

1. State the details of the issue and your position on it.

Sentences

  • We appreciate your attempts to negotiate with the local censorship activists, but they have interpreted your actions as a go-ahead for their attack.
  • I understand that you are in favor of the construction of a new mall. I enjoy shopping and would love the added convenience, but I see no justification for spending millions of dollars on a new mall, especially since we already have one on the other end of town.
  • Thistle Grove and Beechwood Manor represent a significant part of our town's history and tradition. Despite their value, the city has allowed them to fall into disrepair. If we can find the money to build a new government building, simply for appearance's sake, surely we can find the funds to preserve and restore our rich heritage.
  • When I first heard that the city had plans to rezone our area for a condominium complex, I had no objections. I know that quality condominiums with good management can attract good neighbors. However, as I have thought about it, I have become aware of one major concern: traffic congestion.
  • I would like to add my name to the list of those who support your position on the current education issue.

Phrases

  • according to your recent statement
  • according to the viewpoint you
  • after reading the newspaper account of
  • although I agreed at first
  • are not in favor of
  • citizens have a right to
  • clearly states that
  • could greatly affect the
  • has subsequently been brought to my attention
  • has agreed to
  • is a key element of
  • may be aware of
  • must consider the long term implications of
  • must protect innocent
  • plan to vote against
  • quoting from your
  • that you strongly support the
  • the needs of the
  • to offer our support for
  • to speak out against
  • understand that you
  • urge you to
  • want you to know that
  • wholeheartedly agree with
  • wish to draw your attention to
  • would provide for

2. Give evidence to back up your position.

Sentences

  • Just a few examples from history can show how poorly such mediation tactics work. Attempting to appease the opposition by retreating only strengthens and encourages them. They simply continue censoring and burning our books. Failing to take a firm stand also leads the public to assume that you accept these radicals' actions.
  • It doesn't take much more than a walk down Main Street to see the homeless people, run-down neighborhoods, gangs, and crime in our city. In addition to all that, we have cracking sidewalks and major streets covered with unsightly potholes.
  • In your campaign debates you claimed that your biggest concern was to preserve our city's values. Well, here is your chance to prove to the voters that you meant what you said. These buildings represent the very values you claim to uphold.
  • I have watched condominiums develop several times. Most of the time the neighborhoods around them have ended up with traffic congestion because no one put enough thought into the access roads prior to construction. As a result, scores of cars pass through residential streets where children are at play. Such streets were never intended for high-volume traffic.
  • Your integrity and perseverance on behalf of our state's educators is a refreshing change. It is particularly impressive in light of the intense opposition you have faced even among members of your constituency. Your unfailing support continues to increase the overall public support for this difficult and confusing issue.

Phrases

  • a continuing assault on
  • a recent report indicates that
  • at times like these
  • available evidence includes
  • combined efforts will result in
  • consider the effects on
  • could easily get out of control
  • dedicated to protecting and serving
  • history shows that
  • immediate action will
  • in the forefront of
  • must be stop this before
  • must not ignore the
  • must rid our neighborhoods of
  • need to consider the implications of
  • need to consider
  • prevent needless suffering
  • public opinion polls reflect
  • research has shown that
  • sense of community
  • should begin by preserving
  • should take preventive action
  • strong leadership will
  • the ongoing costs of
  • will create disharmony among

3. State what you feel the reader should do about the issue. Depending on the topic, it may be worth using an emotional appeal to call the reader to action.

Sentences

  • Mr. Doe, you are an extremely influential figure in our community. You need to make your position clear. You have both the opportunity and the ability to prevent our libraries from being purged of everything the extremists deem unacceptable. Will you be remembered as the person who stood up for American principles or the one who could have, but didn't?
  • Simply stated, there is no way to justify spending millions of dollars on a superfluous shopping center. Instead of solving our current problems, it would only exacerbate them and create new ones.
  • I know I can count on you to lead the fight for maintaining the last vestiges of our community's priceless heritage.
  • There is a simple way to avoid traffic congestion and its potential dangers. If we take a good look at current and potential traffic patterns before construction, we can plan around them. Can we count on you to work with us and make our neighborhoods safe for our children?
  • Please continue to stand firm in your principles despite the opposing voices around you.

Phrases

  • as one who is committed to
  • ask you to support
  • can be an example of
  • can serve as a model of
  • commit to what is right and just
  • do not let yourself be swayed from
  • if you would agree to
  • in this day and age
  • is a key to solving
  • keep up our tradition of
  • maintain a strong leadership role
  • need to take the lead in
  • play a pivotal role in
  • please do not
  • request that you reconsider
  • stand firm in your position
  • take a stand against
  • to see this through
  • what has been proposed
  • will be the most effective
  • will make a great difference to
  • will you pledge to
  • work towards the

4. Close with a final plea for your approach or solution to the issue. You may want to state what benefits will come from following it.

Sentences

  • We are facing a blatant assault on our basic American liberties, and we must stand firm against the opposition. Please, don't compromise. You have a duty to stand up for what you believe.
  • Please vote "no" on this bill.
  • Show us that you are a man of your word; help us save our town's heritage.
  • We are willing to work with you, if you will work with us.
  • Your proposed legislation will benefit most of the community. I am sure they will be pleased with the results. I am confident that next year's election will reflect their gratitude.

Phrases

  • a cause worth fighting for
  • although you may not be directly affected by
  • are an influential figure in the
  • for generations to come
  • for your support
  • for your attention to
  • held by the Constitution
  • invite you to reconsider
  • it is time to recognize that
  • leave a legacy of
  • look forward to
  • offer you our support in
  • please let me know
  • thank you for
  • the needs of your constituency
  • time is of the essence
  • to your response
  • to your taking action on
  • will remember you as
  • will see to it that
  • wish to meet with you
  • would improve the image of
  • your responsiveness to
  • your duty as a legislator

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