Making Effective Calls To State Legislators

Personal calls are effective substitutes for letters at the state level.

When the Iowa General Assembly is in session, you may call your legislators at the capitol in Des Moines (during he week), or at home (on the weekend). The legislative session generally runs from early January to late April. State legislators do not have official district offices, so to reach them in your district you must call them at home or their places of business. They expect to receive calls from constituents.

Except for those in leadership, legislators do not have offices at the Capitol. They can only be reached through each chamber’s main switchboard.

Senate Switchboard: (515) 281-3371
House Switchboard: (515) 281-3221

Phone Calling Tips

  • Ask to speak to your legislator or his/her clerk. Some legislators have voice mail. If so, that would be the most expeditious way to leave a message for your legislator.
  • You are not likely to reach your legislator on the first try, so plan to leave a phone number where you can be reached later in the day. Most legislators are very conscientious about returning phone calls from constituents.
  • When speaking with your legislator or leaving a message, be brief and to the point. Try to limit your call to one or two subjects. Include all bill titles and numbers whenever possible.
  • The conversation should follow a format similar to the following:Sample Call
    1. Greet the legislator….

      “Hello, Representative/Senator __________________,”

    2. Identify yourself….

      “I am a registered voter in your district. I am writing to you about House/Senate File #____________, which would … (short synopsis of the bill).”

    3. State your position….

      “I am strongly opposed to/in favor of this bill and ask you to vote against/for House/Senate File #_______________.”

    4. State your interest….

      “If the bill passes/is defeated, it will affect me (or someone I know) by … (short synopsis of the impact).”

    5. Ask for a response….

      “Can you please tell me your position on House/Senate File #________?”

    6. Listen to response, and acknowledge….

      “Thank you, Representative/Senator __________________, I agree with you (or, I am afraid I disagree with you). Thank you again for your taking my call.”