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Josh Bergeron: A guide to contacting elected officials

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

Sure, you elected them, but when was the last time you called your congressman or state legislator?

With Congress back in session, it’s time for your elected representative to know how you feel on issues, especially if you’ve never done it before. If it’s a member of the U.S. Senate, maybe you’re upset with a cabinet nomination by President Donald Trump. State legislators and congressmen usually run on a specific platform of positions, but they also bear a responsibility to represent their constituents’ interests. Maybe there’s an issue you’re passionate about.

So, now that you’ve decided there’s a topic you’d like to talk to them about. What’s next?

You may need to figure out who represents you. The best resource is the N.C. General Assembly’s website, ncleg.net. Click on the link in the top right that says “Who represents me?”

In the U.S. House of Representatives, the following people represent parts of Rowan County:

• Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican whose 8th District includes a majority of Rowan County residents.

• Rep. Ted Budd, a Republican whose 13th District covers all of the city of Salisbury, everything north of Spencer in the eastern portion of Rowan and everything north of Mooresville Road in western Rowan

In the U.S. Senate, all North Carolina voters are represented by Sens. Thom Tillis, a Republican, and Richard Burr, also a Republican.

In the N.C. Senate, the following two people represent parts of Rowan County:

• Sen. Tom McInnis, a Republican whose 25th District includes southern and eastern Rowan County.

• Sen. Andrew Brock, a Republican whose 34th District includes Faith, Granite Quarry, Salisbury, Spencer, East Spencer, Landis, Kannapolis, Cleveland, Mt. Ulla and Woodleaf.

Rowan County’s N.C. House representation includes:

• Rep. Harry Warren, a Republican whose 77th District includes Spencer, parts of Salisbury, Granite Quarry, Faith, Bostian Heights, Mt. Ulla, Enochville, Cleveland and Woodleaf.

• Rep. Carl Ford, a Republican whose  76th District includes parts of Salisbury, East Spencer, Rockwell, all of eastern Rowan County, Rockwell, Landis and northern Kannapolis.

There are a few ways to get in touch with your state legislator or congressman. The first, and least effective, would be through social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to name a few. Sure, social media makes elected representatives more accessible, but there are better ways to make your point that only take slightly more time. Local legislators have a relatively minimal presence on social media.

Other ways to get in touch with your elected representative include an email or a phone call. These are slightly more impactful and require minimally more effort. Email addresses for congressmen and senators aren’t publicly available. Instead, there’s a form on their website that requires you to enter an address and other information before sending a message. Typically, it’s best not to use a letter template sent by many people to the same elected official’s email address.

The following are email addresses for Rowan County’s members of the N.C. General Assembly:

• Brock: Andrew.Brock@ncleg.net

• Ford: Carl.Ford@ncleg.net

• McInnis: Tom.McInnis@ncleg.net

• Warren: Harry.Warren@ncleg.net

For those without an email address or computer, a phone call may be easier. State legislators only have one official office, but members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have multiple.

Phone numbers for the Washington, D.C. office and closest District offices of members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate who represent Rowan County are as follows:

• Budd: Washington, D.C. office — 202-225-4531, numbers not yet posted for district offices

• Burr: Washington D.C. office — 202-224-3154, Winston-Salem office 336-631-5125

• Hudson: Washington, D.C. office — 202-225-3715, Concord office — 704-786-1612

• Tillis: Washington, D.C. office — 202-224-6342, Charlotte office — 704-509-9087, High Point office — 336-885-0685

State legislators’ office numbers are the following:

• Brock: 919-715-0690

• Ford: 919-733-5881

• McInnis: 919-733-5953

• Warren: 919-733-5784

Maybe you’ve decided on something more impactful than a email or a phone call. Although written letters may seem like a relic from the 20th Century, they require more time and effort than our more convenient, digital creations. If it’s been a while since you’ve written a letter, you’ll need an envelope, a stamp, something to write with and something to write on. Then, let your thoughts fly.

First, you’ll need an address.

The closest offices and Washington, D.C. office for Rowan County’s members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are as follows:

• Budd has two offices that are within driving distance — Advance, in Davie County, and Mooresville. His Advance office is located at 128 Peachtree Lane, Suite A, Advance, N.C. 27006. His Mooresville office is located at 116 Morlake Drive, Suite 101A, Mooresville, N.C. 28117. His Washington, D.C. office is located at 118 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515.

• For Burr, the closest office is in Winston-Salem. It’s located at 2000 West First Street, Suite 508, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27104. His Washington, D.C office is located at 217 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510.

• For Hudson, the closest office to Rowan County is in Concord. It’s located at 325 McGill Avenue, NW Suite 500, Concord, N.C. 28027. His Washington, D.C. office is located at 429 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515.

• Two of Tillis’ district offices are relatively close to Rowan County. His Charlotte office is located at 9300 Harris Corners Parkway, Suite 170, Charlotte, N.C. 28269. His High Point office is located at 1840 Eastchester Drive, Suite 200, High Point, N.C. 27265. Tillis’ Washington, D.C. office is located at 185 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510

State legislators only have one official office, in Raleigh. Offices for Rowan County’s representatives in the N.C. General Assembly are as follows:

• Brock: 300 N. Salisbury St., Room 310, Raleigh, N.C. 27603-5925

• Ford: 300 N. Salisbury St., Room 608, Raleigh, N.C. 27603-5925

• McInnis: 300 N. Salisbury St., Room 620, Raleigh, N.C. 27603-5925

• Warren: 300 N. Salisbury St., Room 611, Raleigh, N.C. 27603-5925

More so than the other options, an in-person visit is best when possible. A district office visit may be an easier choice than traveling to Washington, D.C. for members of Congress.

Regardless of the method you choose, make 2017 is the year you ensure your voice is more frequently heard by the people who represent you.

Josh Bergeron covers county government, politics and the environment for the Salisbury Post. 

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