Contacting your representatives is easy. In West Virginia, you have exactly two state senators and at least one delegate (sometimes more) who are meant to be representing you.
We’ll explain how to find out who your state representatives are, if you don’t know, and we’ll explain how to contact them. Finally, we’ll share just a couple tips about what to include in your messages. (If you want to contact US, contact us right here.)
Now, let’s move on to how to contact your current WV legislators.
How to locate your WV House and WV State Senate districts
Not sure what district you’re in? Have a look (click to enlarge).
How to find who represents your WV House and WV State Senate districts
Now that you know which districts you’re in, you can see who represents you.
Find your delegate/s in this WV House of Delegates Roster.
Find your state senators in this WV State Senate Roster.
How to contact your delegate/s and state senators
Now you know who your representatives are!
To contact them, in the rosters above, just click your representatives’ names. That’ll take you to a page where you can find their contact information (usually listed just below their photos).
Call or email them… or better yet do BOTH.
What to include in your message
Make sure to tell them you’re their constituent—and they should be working for YOU!
If you want a reply, leave your contact information.
Let them know how you intend to vote if they don’t represent you. Let them know you’ll donate to or volunteer for their opponent in the primary or general. Let them know if you’ll be writing letters to the editor calling them out, or if you’ll be persuading your friends and family not to vote for him/her.
It doesn’t feel like it sometimes, but voters really do have the power! We just have to exercise it.
Something else you can do, then, is to convince just one other person to take the time to call or email about, say, voting rights. Just one. More is nice, of course, but persuade at least one other person. Talk to your spouse or parents. Sit down with your neighbor or call a friend. Ask them to take just five minutes to contact their representatives and help defend WV citizens. And ask THEM to convince one other person.
You see where we’re going here?
Firstly, if you are speaking to your representative’s assistant on the phone, be polite. The assistants don’t have any control over how your legislator votes. That doesn’t mean you can’t tell the assistant how mad you are, but it does mean you shouldn’t take your frustration out on someone who just trying to do his or her job.
Next, keep in mind that the first email response you receive from your representative is likely to be a form letter simply setting out talking points. At the state level, getting a form letter is not always the way, but particularly with issues where voters are all agreed but corporations want something different—again, issues like Forced Pooling, for example—many representatives simply send out their own versions of the industry talking points and propaganda they received from the lobbyists who are telling them what legislation to pass.
- For instance, they might tell you they’re not doing Forced Pooling this year; they’re doing co-tenancy. It’s the same thing; corporations will often rebrand hurtful actions they want to take against working people, in order to keep you from realizing what they’re doing to you. That’s why they’re hoping to call it something else, so it can slip by unnoticed until it’s too late.
- As another example, they might tell you everyone is agreed “this is a good bill.” But by everyone, they mean that all the thieves are agreed on how they’re going to split what they’ve stolen from West Virginians. Naturally, they don’t mean that the victims of these prospective thefts have agreed to be stolen from.
- For a final example, they’ll tell you that their horrible bill, such as the Right-to-Trespass bill, is fine because it only allows corporate trespassing for the purposes of surveying your property. They won’t admit that the surveys are so the companies can decide if you have anything worth stealing. And they won’t mention that it hardly matters if these companies are coming to paint your toenails and serve you free pancakes. You should have the right to keep people off your property if you want to!
Basically, they’ll try to mislead, and they won’t be shy about it. Some may even lie outright, although that’s less common. As more ill-informed and ignorant legislators are getting elected, however, they can also often be taken in by corporate talking points. As an example, when the delegate in Ritchie and Pleasants counties was asked by a constituent how he could support rolling back regulations on above-ground chemical storage tanks, he said it would protect small businesses that would otherwise be unable to afford to do business. But when he was asked why any business should continue to operate if it can’t operate safely… he was struck dumb. He could offer no reason why companies should be permitted to make money by putting the citizens of his district at risk. Perhaps he’d never even thought about that before.
Legislators really don’t think these things through. They take the word of the lobbyists and corporate execs handing them thousands of dollars for their campaigns. And when confronted with the truth, they may often cover their eyes and ears, because if they admitted to themselves what they’re doing to us, they’d have to realize they’re not the good, upstanding citizens they claim to be. They are villains.
Mind you, that’s not every legislator. There are some good ones! But the vast majority are just more in a long line of politicians who have sold out Appalachia to the highest bidder—who have made us a colony in a nation.
So, for the sake of democracy, remember to keep after your legislators on issues that matter to you. Call them out when they send you corporate propaganda or if they try to pretend they’re not taking your rights away, when they are. They should be trying their hardest to help you… not to fool you or shut you up.
It’s YOUR job to disabuse them of the crazy idea that corporate money and corporate talking points will get them re-elected. Let them know you’re not being taken in by the propaganda, and that you expect them not to simply take their marching orders from lobbyists and ignore things that would actually make our lives better.
YOUR REPRESENTATIVES should be working for YOU.