Why Write To Congress? Because It Works!

Date: September 01, 2017

NFIB delivers member’s letter to Sens. Sullivan and Murkowski, Rep. Young

Shooting off emails is within everyone’s ability, but a hand-written letter is often a better way to get your message heard. It tells lawmakers that you’ve taken the time and care to outline your thoughts in a comprehensible manner and not just banged out some words and hit the ‘Send’ button.

Case in point: NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt heard of a member in Soldotna who had crafted a letter he urgently wanted to get to Alaska’s congressional delegation. Having to travel to Washington, D.C., around the same time, DeWitt offered to deliver the letter himself.

“Elected officials receive thousands of emails, which, by necessity, they must delegate to staff to sort through the noise — a noise that our hyper-communicative age has cranked up the volume on,” said DeWitt. “Something coming through the post office, however, can force a little more attention. In the case of our Soldotna member, I offered to deliver his letter by hand, but however it gets to a legislator’s office, it’s a safe bet that a piece of paper will be read, filed, and sometimes acted on. It doesn’t come with a ‘Delete’ key.”

In a guest editorial penned by Rep. Don Young and Sen. Dan Sullivan for the Juneau Empire, the member’s letter was cited as an example of why Congress cannot give up the vitally important fight to reform the Affordable Care Act.

“A chiropractor in Soldotna,” wrote the congressmen, “is losing customers because of the high cost of insurance. His predicament is compounded by the $3,000 a month he must pay for insurance for his wife and three children, plus a $6,500 deductible per-person. ‘We are HURTING!’ he wrote. We’ve heard versions of his story over and over.”

Young and Sullivan point out that “since 2013, premiums in the individual market in Alaska have increased 203 percent. The average premium in Alaska is close to $1,100 a month for a plan to cover just one person. These are the most expensive premiums in the nation by far. These premium spikes have coincided with the number of insurers in Alaska’s individual market falling from five to just one.”

DeWitt didn’t want to discount the importance of emails. “We’ve used email to great effect in NFIB’s lobbying for small business. I don’t want to discourage the use of email. What I want to point out is that a letter, written or typed, can sometimes have a resonance an email can’t match.”

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