Make An Impact for Clean Water!
Five Ways You Can Make Your Voice Heard in Support of Clean Water:
- Contact your legislators via email, a handwritten note, or give them a quick call. Ask them to support long-term clean water funding, and share why you care about clean water. Find your legislators’ contact information at this link: https://legislature.vermont.gov/people/search/2018
- Ask your friends to contact their lawmakers about clean water. The more voices, the more of an impact we will make.
- Write a Letter to the Editor and submit it to your local paper. Get tips for how to write an effective letter and get it submitted below.
- Post on social media about the need for long-term clean water funding, and “tag” your legislators.
- Call the Governor’s office and ask him to commit to long-term clean water funding this year – (802) 828-3333.
Sample talking points – but remember, your own story/reasons for supporting clean water are the most important message!
- Clean water is essential to a healthy economy, healthy communities, and healthy people. Unfortunately, polluted waters are harming Vermonters’ health, economy, and way of life.
- Vermont made a commitment to clean up its waters when it passed the Vermont Clean Water Act in 2015.
- A key part of our commitment to achieving clean water also includes long-term dedicated funding to implement the projects needed to improve water quality across the state.
- The state has conducted numerous studies in recent years on how to fund clean water investments — now is the time for action.
- We are calling on lawmakers to improve the water funding bill (S.260) being developed by selecting a long-term revenue source that will be ready to go into effect when stop-gap clean water funding runs out in July 2019. We also support establishing a transparent and accountable entity to collect and distribute that money to strategic clean water projects across the state.
How-To Guide for Letters to the Editor: Urge Lawmakers to Take Action on Clean Water
Letters to the Editor (and their larger relatives, op-eds) are one of the best ways activists can participate in the political process, reaching a large audience for free. Politicians and local opinion leaders rely on such letters to get a sense of what area residents are thinking about an issue. Small newspapers are often looking to fill their pages with thoughtful commentaries. It is much easier and takes less effort to get a letter printed than to do a press conference or to get on television. Just remember; never use your letter to attack others personally. And remember that most news outlets have digital versions, so your letter will likely be available on-line.
Structuring Your Letter
Effective letters to the editor are under 250 words, simple and straightforward. Your letter is most likely to be printed if you live in the coverage area of the newspaper, if you email your letter to the paper (so they don’t have to retype it), and if it is relatively brief.
Here are some general tips:
- Be sure you have a “hook” that explains why your letter is relevant. It’s best if you can relate your letter back to something that was recently printed in the paper, or something that relates to an important, recent, local news story.
- Get to the point. Make your point either in the first or second sentence of your letter. Be clear and direct.
- Offer supporting argument(s) to back up the point you’re trying to make. Try to highlight arguments that will be most persuasive to the audience you are trying to reach. It can be helpful to identify yourself as part of a group that elected officials care about: a business owner, person of faith, a hunter or angler, a long-time resident, a parent, a scientist.
- Provide your hometown and contact information. Newspapers normally publish the name of the letter writer and his or her hometown. They also confirm that a given person has written a letter before they publish it. Make it easy for editors by providing your hometown as well as telephone number or email address. Editors don’t normally publish telephone numbers or email addresses, but you can be sure by noting that it’s “for confirmation only.”
- Follow up. Call the newspaper when you think they have received your letter to verify it arrived. You can also ask whether they plan to run it and if so, when. If they don’t plan to run it, ask them if you can edit it to make it something they would run.
See the sample talking points above for points you could consider incorporating into your letter.
If you need any help figuring out how to get your letter submitted, or want help crafting a letter, contact: email@example.com
Thanks for taking the time to make your voice heard in support of clean water – together we can make a real difference!