Will my representatives hear my concerns if I call them?
In the world that we live in, taking the time to write your representative (at any level of government) is unfortunately only effective in a narrow set of situations and is often best used as a supplementary tactic supporting a broader strategy.
Clarence Stone’s notion of “systemic power” is helpful. For him, systemic power has to do with the predispositions of public officials, i.e. which interests these officials favor at the expense of others. Power is having public officials predisposed to favor your interests. Since society and economics shape these power relations, those better off are de facto preferred. For an electorate to compete, they need to figure out a way to reshape that public official’s priorities in order to be heard. How that happens depends on the public official you are trying to get recognition from.
Contacting your representative, like any public action, should be a thought through, necessary, piece of a larger plan. As a tactic it is fairly weak on its own, however, if it is a tactic you are considering, we suggest watching the highly informative YouTube video: “Contact Your Representative” by Folding Ideas (more on this topic also appears later in this document).