Q29: How can you find out who your representative is? 

A. by using the House of Representatives website, 
B. by calling the President 
C. by checking the Yellow Pages 
D. by reading the local newspaper

Question Background Information


Representatives, like senators, are the voice of the people. Knowing who our representatives are, and reaching out to them, gives us a stronger voice in how we are governed.

One way that representatives keep in touch with their constituents is through town hall meetings. These meetings offer them a chance to meet with the people they represent in an open forum. Here, they can speak about current issues and their view on them -- and offer those attending a chance to ask questions, share their thoughts on the same issues, or offer new points of view.

Another way that representatives reach out to people is through social media. By maintaining accounts on popular sites, they can reach a far larger audience than they once did. And, of course, since social media works in both directions, the people are able to provide instant feedback.

Finally, representatives can be reached through mail, either electronic or traditional. Writing letters to a representative is perhaps one of the oldest methods of making sure that one’s voice is heard. One can also call a representative’s congressional office to register an opinion.

Note: an equivalent exercise can be adapted for members of the Senate (instead, using to find which senators to contact). See Question 23.

Additional Content

Offline Activity


Keeping in touch with their constituents and knowing what their needs and concerns are is a vital part of a representative’s job. If they do not listen to the people they represent, they will not be re-elected. In this activity, students will write a letter to their legislator and share their concerns about an issue. 


  • Print a copy of the letter-writing guidelines for each student. 
  • Provide each student with a letter template.
  • A rubric is available if this is a graded activity. 
  • Find the names and addresses of your member of the House of Representatives at
  • Have business envelopes and postage so that the students are able to mail their letters to their senators.

Note: an equivalent exercise can be adapted for members of the Senate (instead of using to find which senators to contact). See Question 23.

Required files

The Teaching Materials for this exercise includes a rubric.

Teaching Materials.


  1. Letter writing is generally a solitary activity. However, depending on the age and/or skills level of the students, you may want to have them work in pairs. a. Divide the class into pairs based on the students’ individual levels. Group A is the group that needs some extra support. Group B is the core group that has the core knowledge to complete the activity. Group C is the enrichment group who have mastered the material and are prepared to extend their knowledge. Pair those who need support (Group A) with those who have core knowledge and/or have mastered the material (Groups B and C).
  2. Explain to the students that they are going to write letters to their representative to express their concern about a topic.
    • Brainstorm with the students on possible topics -- taxes, civil rights, war, laws, various protests, net neutrality, gun laws, healthcare, government investigations, etc.
    • If the students are struggling with this, ask them about current events. How do they feel about a political happening? Why do they feel this way? What do they want their representative to do about an issue (e.g. vote “no/yes” on an bill, sponsor a bill, or encourage members of a federal agency to vote “yes/no” on an issue)
      • If students are writing about a specific piece of legislation, make sure that they identify it correctly: 
        House Bills: "H.R._____" 
        House Resolutions: "H.RES._____" 
        House Joint Resolutions: "H.J.RES._____"
    • Be aware that some students may wish to write about personal topics, but may not bring these up during the brainstorming session. To make sure that they realize that they can write about the topics, end the brainstorm with a statement about how the list they see on the board is not exhaustive and that they can choose any topic they wish.
    • You may wish to emphasize the following:
      • You are the only person, other than the representative, who will read the letter.
      • You are not grading them on the topic they choose. The goal of this exercise is to write a letter and make their voices heard. It is not to choose a topic that everyone has to like or agree with.
  3. Write the names and addresses of your local representative on the board.
  4. Review the letter writing guidelines with the students.
  5. Have them create an outline or rough draft on the template before writing a final copy.
  6. Circulate throughout the room as the students complete their letters to check for understanding and help as needed.
  7. Have them write the final copy on a clean sheet of loose leaf.

Discussion Prompts

Below are two discussion prompts that can be used by teachers in a classroom setting. 

  • The first discussion prompt will be one that is designed to support students that are not really understanding the content in a way that would help them to answer the test question.
  • The second discussion prompt will be one that is designed to further student understanding of the content by making real-world connections, including connections to current events, and historical events.


Making one’s voice heard is important. Equally important is making sure that you address your representative by name and do so in a mature and responsible manner. Writing a letter to or directly calling “whoever you are” and saying “vote this way because I say so” is not effective. Respectfully addressing your representative and being able to offer a sound argument will get your representative’s attention and help persuade him or her to agree with you. 

Prompt 1

Before you can write a letter, you need to know to whom you are writing to and where he or she stands on the issue. How can you find out who your representative is and what he/she believes? Why is it important to know how they stand on an issue? 

Prompt 2

It is easy to assume that one’s representative is busy -- perhaps too busy to listen. It’s also easy to assume that one’s opinion doesn’t really matter. However, both assumptions are wrong. Representatives are busy, but you opinions absolutely matter. 

Why? How will speaking up benefit the country? What current or past events support your answer?