introduction and an advocacy issue appeal

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Please follow the instructor carefully. You are expected to post a primary response to the discussion topic. All posts should address the discussion topic/question, add to the discussion, and/or encourage others to respond. Facts and claims MUST be supported with APA format citations and references. Use personal experience, course resources such as textbook and additional readings, library references and resources, and well-reputed internet sources, which includes reputable media sources, as well as scholarly sources. Your primary response to the topic/questions posed should be 2 -3 paragraphs, and be thoughtful, well-written, and include appropriate APA in-text citation(s) and reference(s) when appropriate.

This week discussion is centered on drafting a letter to your local representative regarding a position on a piece of legislation.

Communicating with elected officials is an important part of public health advocacy. Written communication to the different branches of government is often used by health and advocacy groups to ensure their perspective is considered in the debate on an issue.

Advocacy groups often engage their member advocates in campaigns to directly communicate to their representatives to assure the community voice is included in the discussions and to influence legislators and regulators. Constituents’ (you, the residents and voters) input on issues is a valued part of the democratic process and should not be underestimated. Elected officials often make decisions about voting, and even introducing bills in response to public communication. You are writing a draft letter for your primary post.

· Visit this site or this site to find different representatives you may be interested in writing an advocacy letter to. Enter your address to find your representatives at the Federal, state and local level. Identify which level of government you wish to send a letter to and find that elected official’s address.


· For the letter:

· Begin your letter and include the representatives name and legislative title you are writing the letter to:

The Honorable John Doe,

US Congress, 53rd District

123 Elm St

San Diego CA 92103

· Include the constituents (your) local address, email address or web form url in the address line (this information can be created and does not have to be your actual information).

· Have an introduction and an advocacy issue appeal (should be at least three paragraphs total).

· The introduction includes information about your personal experience, education, and interests and must include a statement of your constituency. It also introduces the issue you want to have addressed in one sentence or less.The advocacy appeal is a statement on behalf of a community asking for the issue to be addressed, thanking them for a recent vote on the issue, or expressing disappointment or concern about their vote or an issue . It often includes education about the issue, and is backed up by fact. For this assignment, your appeal should include a policy option. Advocacy for a general solution about the problem includes suggesting a policy option or principle you think will address the problem.

· Constituency means all the people (voters), served by a particular elected official, especially a legislator. In other words, a district that is representative of a specific legislator. For example, I live in Carlsbad, which is the 49th congressional district in California. It is represented by Congressman Darrell Issa

· Do NOT lobby (your letter may not ask for a specific bill, or a specific way to vote)

· Please review the advocacy sample letter in your text. This is a perfect example of a way to advocate for a cause without leaning towards lobbying. The example is in Chapter 17, p.335. Read the paragraph prior to the example letter that begins with: “There are many ways to advocate on behalf of a public health issue….”.

For more details about writing letters to elected officials, see the Community Toolbox:

Other sample letters:

APHA: these are a bit lengthy, but helps you understand the gist of letters to congress, etc…

American Lung Association: sample letters

Each student will also respond to two peer posts. Each peer post is expected to give constructive feedback to your peers, to identify ways that this letter could be improved or enhanced. Use course concepts.


· You are required to use at least TWO sources from the textbook, government reports, peer-reviewed journal articles or textbooks. Use your OWN WORDS (e.g., do not cut and paste from a government report or article).

· Paraphrase (use your own words) to report the information.

· Include APA formatted in-text citations to identify your sources AND include full APA formatted references for your sources at the end of your post.

o Purdue OWL APA Guide


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