The U.S. observes National Write to Congress Day on January 3 every year, a day for the citizens to exercise their democratic rights. It is crucial to write to the State and Federal level representatives, relaying all concerns to them. Small business owners can also write to their elected representatives about any recent bills that might affect them. Very few people do this or even realize they can, which makes this day that much more significant. It is our duty as the citizens who elected them to hold our representatives accountable.
History of National Write to Congress Day
The Congress is the United States of America legislature, first established under the Constitution in New York in 1789 before moving to Philadelphia. It is bicameral, meaning it has two houses — the Senate present in each state and the House of Representatives elected based on population. The First U.S. Congress laid the foundation, forming government departments, passing the Bill of Rights, and announcing the President. In 1800, the national capital was moved to Washington D.C.
The war against Great Britain in 1812 brought significant loss and damage to the country. In 1814, British forces invaded Washington D.C. and set public Congress buildings, including the Capitol, on fire. By 1912, America had become a union of 48 states and was the most influential country in the world. The members of Congress moved into their first permanent office buildings, their congressional service becoming a full-time occupation compared to the very seldom meetings that were held in the 19th century.
Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution states that the House Members have two years in office. A House ends after each two-year Congress, and the new Representatives must constitute a new House for the next Congress, choose its Speaker and officers, and adopt the chamber’s rules of procedure. The Constitution also provides a set time for the new Congress to convene, which is noon on January 3, except when the previous Congress designated a different day by law. National Write to Congress Day is set on this day to coincide with the constitutional opening day of each new Congress.
On December 30, 2005, Congressman Higgins recognized National Write to Congress Day, deciding that the day would be annually observed on January 3, 2006, to encourage the general public to contact their representatives through email, letter, or phone calls. The U.S. Congress receives an estimated 86.9 million mails every year.
National Write to Congress Day timeline
The Congress is established in New York under the supreme law of the United States.
The U.S. Capitol is moved from Philaphelia to Washington D.C.
British forces invade Washington D.C. and set public Congress buildings on fire.
The Congressional Record, the official daily record of the U.S. Congress debates and proceedings in session, is published for the first time.
Congressional service becomes a full-time job as members of Congress move into their first permanent office buildings.
Congressman Higgins recognizes Write to Congress Day as a national day of observance.
The U.S. observes its very first National Write to Congress Day.
National Write to Congress Day FAQs
What do I write to Congress?
Write about issues your community is facing, and explain why it is important to you, how it affects you, your family members, and/or your community. Read up about local and national issues and send your opinions to Congress, telling your representative how you want them to vote on it, and ask for feedback. Don’t forget to include your name and address.
Is the National Write Your Congressman organization non-partisan?
Yes, the National Write Your Congressman (NWYC) is non-partisan. It does not side with any specific party and is a neutral platform for writing to your representative.
Do you address a congress member as honorable?
Yes, you can address them as “Congressman/Congresswoman” or “The honorable,” followed by their last name. Then “Representative from” followed by their state.
How to Observe National Write to Congress Day
Write to your Congressman
Today is the day to communicate your concerns to the government officials you elected into office. Go to the National Write Your Congressman site and draft a letter concerning an issue.
Tell others to write too
Your voice can inspire many. Use the platforms you have to get others to voice their concerns as well.
Not too sure what to write about? That’s okay. You can start by reading up to become informed about local and national issues. Make sure to look for verifiable information from trusted sources. One great source for this is Wise Voter.
5 Facts About The U.S. Congress
Congress has age restrictions
According to the Constitution, the members of Congress are required to be at least 25 years old, and Senators should be 30 or above.
Most members were born in the U.S.
The majority of the Congress members were born in the United States.
The first female Congress member
Jeannette Pickering Rankin of Montana, the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress, assumed office in 1917.
The Library of Congress is vast
Located in Washington D.C., the Library of Congress is considered the most extensive library globally, with more than 170 million items.
The first national park in the U.S.
The U.S. Congress passed the legislation which made Yellowstone the first national park in 1872.
Why National Write to Congress Day is Important
It’s important to exercise our rights
As citizens of a democratic country, we must demonstrate our freedom and rights. Voicing our opinions will help the government understand the people’s will, empowering citizens to create positive change.
To be aware and informed
Being aloof and indifferent is not cool anymore. What’s cool is taking an interest, getting involved, and caring about society.
To hold our representatives accountable
A country will run well if the government and its people are equally involved. Holding representatives accountable will ensure a functioning democracy.
National Write to Congress Day dates