Statehouses Limiting Public Health Power - Letter Template

Created by Rinki Goswami and Vinaya Gogineni


[DATE]


[PERSONAL/BUSINESS ADDRESS]


The Honorable [SENATOR OR REPRESENTATIVE’S FIRST NAME, LAST NAME]

State Senate

Capital, State Zip


Dear Senator OR Representative [LAST NAME]


I am a [PROFESSION/ROLE/TITLE] at [INSTITUTION NAME], writing to urge you to oppose the [SELECT ANY OF THE BILLS LISTED BELOW OR MAKE A NON-PARTISAN GENERIC STATEMENT] given the massive hardship Covid-19 has inflicted on State population. Our hospitals are operating at capacity, our healthcare workers are overly burdened, and our community members are dying at rates too high to tolerate.


Public health science at this time requires us to enact measures to curtail this pandemic. Until the vaccine is widely available and trusted by the public, we must abide by social distancing, mask-wearing, and hygiene protocols. We must strengthen our institutions and build faith in our health department -- only then can we overcome the virus and begin on the long path towards rebuilding our economy. With xxx daily cases and hundreds of deaths daily, we are far from normal and we must support policy to keep our friends and neighbors safe.


The US has carried a disproportionate burden of this pandemic. Vulnerable communities and essential workers (healthcare workers, and now those forced to work public-facing positions) have been hit especially hard. Public health studies and lessons from past pandemics indicate this is due to a lack of nationwide policy. We cannot further make ourselves vulnerable with hundreds of thousands already dead. This holiday season already will bring far too many empty seats. Many survivors have been permanently disabled by the illness. The long term health consequences of infection are not yet known (but we do know that intubation and ICU stays lead to higher mortality and morbidity during subsequent illnesses).


On top of the mental and physical fatigue, pre-existing physician burnout, the emotional trauma of witnessing countless lives lost due to a surging pandemic, and stress of bringing harm to our families, the overwhelming and disproportionate burden of policy undermining the few recommendations and tools we have available to us is disappointing and heartbreaking. We plead that you oppose bill xyz for the wellbeing of our state.


If you or your staff would like additional information, please feel free to contact me directly. I am happy to talk further and look forward to hearing from you soon.


Sincerely,

[NAME, TITLE, INSTITUTION]


------


Example of a generic, non-partisan statement:

  • I am writing to urge you to oppose the weakening of our public health systems given the massive hardship Covid-19 has inflicted on the U.S. population, particularly on our hospital systems and frontline healthcare workers.

List of states with moves to oppose public health restrictions:


Pandemic State Policies
.xlsx
Download XLSX • 85KB

States with Mask Mandates


Map of Statewide COVID-19 Policies


State Data of Policy to Address COVID-19


State Reopening Plans



General tips for writing your state legislators (source: American Psychological Association):

  • Direct: state your subject clearly in the e-mail subject line and/or letter introduction

  • Factual: personalize the issue and support your stance with facts

  • Helpful: offer to provide additional information and provide your contact information

  • Informative: identify yourself, your views, and the bill number(s) of relevant legislation

  • Constructive: remain positive and offer recommendations without personal attacks or blame

  • Appreciative: thank the policymaker for their attention

  • Inquiring: ask for the policymaker’s viewpoint on the legislation

  • Specific: provide specific facts, data, examples, and write in the first-person

  • Concise: do not exceed one page or 500 words


More tips, sample e-mails, sample letters, and links to your state’s Congresspersons’ contact information can be found at this page created by the American Psychological Association.


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