Letter Written to an Elected or Appointed Official

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Letter Written to an Elected or Appointed Official

Letter Written to an Elected or Appointed Official

For this assignment, you will write a letter to an elected official. In approximately three pages, you should take a position, recommend some action, and back it up with the best reasoning you can; don’t just raise the issue or state a concern. Plan actually to send this letter; don’t treat it as simply a classroom exercise.

Choose a public policy issue related to a community health issue, an issue you care about strongly, and one about which you have some information or knowledge. It’s much easier to write with conviction if you really have that conviction; it requires real talent to fake it. On the other hand, you must approach your topic with enough objectivity to understand the opposing point of view and deal with those arguments in a reasoned way.

You should choose a specific recipient, a policy maker who is an appropriate audience for your opinion, such as Senator Warren or Markey, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (3rd Congressional District) or the congressperson in your district, your local state representatives, or the editors of the Sentinel and Enterprise. If you have a specialized issue, we can suggest other appropriate policy makers.

Your conclusion should recommend some action on someone’s part; don’t simply raise the issue and complain about the status quo. Moreover, be sure that the recipient of your letter is someone who has the power to take the action you recommend. Broadly, here are some guidelines: If you want a new law introduced (or if you want to support or oppose currently proposed legislation), write a legislator (Senators Warren or Markey, your local member of Congress, or the chair of the relevant House or Senate committee). The most effective thing the President can do is move public opinion; you should write to the President if you want him to take a public stand on some issue (or if you want him to sign or veto a particular piece of legislation that has passed out of Congress); the President doesn’t officially originate or introduce legislation, and he won’t even have his staff propose legislation for a legislator to introduce except on the biggest public policy issues (like health care or tax reform).

Formatting & Submission Guidelines

Length: Between 700 and 1400 words [if the word limit is far different for an actual comment you plan to submit, please discuss with course faculty].  Include a word count at the end of the document. 

Follow letter guidelines provided in useful links

Please do NOT include title pages; include only your name and the date in the document header. 

Due Dates:

First submission due 10/21/19: A hard copy of the completed letter is due at the beginning of class.

Failure to submit a copy of your letter will decrease your grade by 10 points each day it is late.

Letters will be reviewed for content, grammar and style, and then returned for revision. 80 pts out of 100

Final submission due 11/18/19: A hard copy of the final version will be due in class with a stamped envelope addressed to the representative. 20 points out of 100.

First Submission Grading Criteria:

Your grade will be based on:

Appropriate selection of a solicitation, agency/audience, and/or topic of your letter -5pts

Clear introduction of the topic and purpose of the letter -5pts

The topic selected is a public health concern related to the core concepts of the course – 10pts

Your supporting arguments are focused and relate to the topic of the letter – 15pts

The letter is persuasive and clearly communicates your message to your audience -15pts

Your letter demonstrates your understanding of the community health topic including use of supporting evidence – 15pts

Your integration of KEY concepts presented in this course with your own ideas and perspectives – 20pts

Grammar and Style – 5pts

Final Submission Grading Criteria:Your grade will be based on:

Revisions made to address faculty feedback related to content, grammar and style of the letter -15pts

A stamped envelope addressed to the intended recipient of the letter -5pts

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