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Political Engagement: How to contact your elected officials

Government information & participation

From Cañada College to Congress: local Congressional Representative Ann Eshoo

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Cañada College, class of '75, now represents the area where she lives and attended college. She earned an Associate of Arts in English from Cañada College within a decade of the college's official opening. Congresswoman Eshoo serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, the first woman in the history of the Subcommittee to serve in a leadership role. Congresswoman Eshoo works to expand high-speed, affordable broadband, protect electronic privacy as well as an open internet and to ensure net neutrality protections. She also serves as a co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus. Read more about Congresswoman Eshoo and her political career here.

Sign up for email updates from Congresswoman Eshoo here or visit her Palo Alto office at 698 Emerson St.  Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact Congresswoman Eshoo at 650-323-2984 or 408-245-2339 or 831-335-2020. The fax number is 650-323-3498.

Contact your federal and state elected officials

Who represents you in government? What do they vote on? Find out who to contact here in the federal level in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives and the state level in the California assembly and state senate.

Congressional representatives serve two-year terms. Senators serve six-year terms. To find current congressional representatives and senators by state, check this Library of Congress website.

Check the correct form of address for elected officials on this PLS page.

Register to vote online

Petition the US government for change. Yes, you!

petition illustration

Anyone can write and circulate a petition to take action or to change laws. Go to this White House website to sign an existing petition or to create a new one. To create a new petition;

  • Think of a title that expresses your goal in 120 characters or fewer.
  • Choose one to three tags - Civil Rights & Equality, Foreign Policy or Immigration are examples - that fit your petition.
  • Write a description in 800 words or fewer of your cause.

Gather 100,000 signatures in 30 days. Once your petition has 150 signatures, it will become available on the White House website.

Read this Washington Post article, "Yes, signing those petitions makes a difference" for more about citizen petitions' effect on our government.

Can you pass a citizenship test?

Your local government: City councils and county supervisors

Whether a dog park is open on Sundays is one of the many decisions local government officials make that affect your neighborhood. Attend a city council or planning commission meeting to hear the discussions behind each decision with an outcome you can see.

County boards of supervisors and city councils usually meet twice a month on the same day of the week, such as the second and fourth Thursdays, or the first and third Tuesdays. You can receive agendas and meeting notices by email and can often watch meetings online or on YouTube. Follow the links below to sign up. 

Start a career in government: Apply for an internship

Interested in working in Sacramento or Washington, D.C? Elected officials love to introduce students to politics and government. Explore the websites listed below, pick an opportunity, ask your instructors for recommendations and apply.

File a Freedom of Information Act request

Can't find the government information you are looking for but believe it exists somewhere? First, do a thorough search for the information or report you want. If you can't find it, and you think it exists, you can file a Freedom of Information Act request here.

Adjunct Faculty Librarian

Cynthia McCarthy's picture
Cynthia McCarthy
Contact:
Wednesdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cañada College Library
408-306-3480