Use your voice to make a difference in matters that count Published Sept. 29, 2008 By Senior Master Sgt. Pearletta Ullrich 301st Security Forces Squadron Fort Worth, TEXAS -- Do you want to know what issues the Senators are voting on or how they voted on a certain Bill? Do you want the military reserve retirement age reduced; better dental and medical benefits; environmental concerns; local government issues? Well, here's how it works. First, I must warn you that writing Congress can be hazardous to your career if your concern could have been resolved using your chain of command. If in doubt, see your First Sergeant! I have emailed my Representatives and Senators several times. Mostly, to support the programs that AFSA is working on; such as reducing the retirement age for reservist and increasing our benefits. So, here's what you do. First, I must warn you that emailing from your military email address is prohibited and you will be considered a lobbyist. Just in case you're wondering, this is not a good thing. Here's how to send an email from a non government computer: Write your Senators: Go to http://www.senate.gov/ ; Click on GO at "Find Your Senators"; Click on Choose a State and select your State of residence, then choose which Senator you want to contact. Follow the instructions and fill in the blanks appropriately. Write your Representative: Go to http://www.house.gov/ ; Enter your complete zip code and click on GO ; Click on Representatives name. This will take you to your Representatives web site, whereas you will their email, phone numbers, address, and lots of information about various issues. Remember, failure to heed these warnings will make you subject to the discipline according to the UCMJ. However, you are free to contact your Senators and Representative any time. Here's what happens when Congress receives an email, letter, or phone call: a Congressional Aide will act "quickly" on behalf of the Congressman (includes house and senate); if it's a local military or base issue; they start at the top of the chain. From there, it is passed down the chain to the proper military contact. Congress is at the top of the chain, so ensure you have exhausted all avenues before making contact. Here's one incident I experienced myself to help define "quickly." My family wanted to know if I arrived in Iraq safely. A call to the base resulted in an answer of, "We don't know?" A call to their respective Representatives' office had one minor glitch, they needed my social security number and my family didn't have it. That aide had my social security number within 15 minutes and my entire travel itinerary in another 15 minutes. They actually knew when my boots hit the sand in Iraq. Now, that's quick!