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Contacting Elected Officials: Introduction

Provides information and tips when contacting elected federal officials.

Free Public Access to Government Information

Free public access to United States government documents in a federal depository library is guaranteed by law (44 USC §1911).  While UC Berkeley houses one of the most comprehensive collections of U.S. government documents in the country, the Library is one of over a thousand Federal Depository Libraries across the United States, and one of several Federal Depository Libraries in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Sharing your opinion with elected officials on an issue facing the country or state, raise an issue you want to see action on, or ask for redress on an issue is your right and duty as a U.S. citizen. This guide provides information on how to contact the President and Vice President, US House and Senate members (both local to UCB and nationwide). Ten tips for crafting a correspondences are also available.

Percentage of Bills Passed?

Since 1974, over 10,000 bills on average are introduced in a typical Congressional session, but less than less than 5% make it to law.  A large number of bills never make it out of committee (especially true for the more radical bills on the spectrum).  While making your views known on a bill during any part of the legislative process is helpful, be particularly mindful and watch for the number of cosponsors increasing, the bill gets "markup" while in committee, or when hearing(s) and/or votes start being scheduled: this is when to really start advocating for or against a particular issue.  There are several sources you can use under the "Tracking Congressional Issues" tab to help you follow a bill's progress.

Contact Jesse

Jesse Silva
guide author or co-author photo

Need help with research?  Have a question about the collection or the UC Berkeley Library?  Here are two ways to get in touch with me: