It might sound old-fashioned, but one of the best ways to participate in the Texas political process is to write your elected representatives about the issues that matter to you. While many people think their civic duty starts and ends on Election Day, the truth is that elected officials welcome regular feedback from their constituents. Before you write your state representative or senator, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.
How Representation Works in Texas
Like the federal government and all states (except Nebraska), Texas has a bicameral (two-house) legislature. This model was originally derived from the United Kingdom, which has an elected lower house and an upper house composed primarily of members appointed for life. But in Texas, both chambers are elected directly by the people.
The main difference between the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate is the number of members and the size of their constituencies. There are 150 members of the House, each of whom represents roughly 168,000 people. In contrast, the Texas Senate only has 31 members, who each represent about 811,000 people.
The boundaries for House and Senate districts are altered every 10 years to account for changes in the population, as measured by the United States Census. If you want to know which legislative districts you currently live in, the Texas legislature’s website offers a handy tool that can match your home address to the corresponding Texas House and Senate members. This tool will also give you the office mailing addresses for your legislators so you know where to send any correspondence.
Tips for Writing Your State Legislator
- Be specific as possible about the reason for writing. If you are asking your legislator to support or oppose a particular bill, make sure you identify it by number and title. Even if your letter is not related to a currently pending item of legislation, you should still identify some specific action you wish your legislator to take.
- Offer any supporting evidence or personal expertise. If you have firsthand knowledge of the issue you are writing about, make sure to let your legislator know and provide any relevant information. For example, if you are asking your legislator to support a reform to the criminal justice system, recount any personal experiences that you or a family member had with the courts.
- Always remain professional. Do not treat correspondence with your legislator like an angry social media post. Use respectful language at all times. You should also sign your name and provide your address, so the legislator can identify you as a constituent.
Do You Have Questions? Contact Us Today
Of course, many people in Houston and Galveston still retain questions regarding the process, as well as various laws in Texas. If you need answers, or if you are facing a legal matter, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today for assistance.