Sample Budget Letters to the Editor

Writing a Letter to the Editor: 4 Steps to Get Published

  1. Find your local newspaper where you’d like to get published—or better yet, respond to an article published recently (within two or three days is ideal). Every publication has different word limits, so be sure to check out the specific requirements.
  2. Draft your letter. Keep it short (ideally under 200 words), simple, and straight to the point. Sign it with your full name and affiliation. You can use one of our samples (below), but be sure to update it with your personal experience.
  3. Double check everything. Read the letter out loud. Spell check it. Maybe even have a trusted friend read it over, too.
  4. Send your letter to the publication. Typically, you’ll do this via email. Let us know. If you email the publication, please add our Press Secretary, Cheston McGuire, at Cheston.McGuire@afge.org in the “CC” line. If you submit it by an electronic form, you can copy it into an email and then send it to Cheston.

Sample Letters to the Editor

General Letter 

To the Editor -  

I am a proud federal employee but please know that I am not speaking on behalf of my agency. I write this letter solely in my personal capacity, and as a member of the community. My coworkers and I make sure our government is run ‘by the people’ and ‘for the people.’ We keep our veterans healthy, our communities safe, our skies friendly, our military prepared, our air clean, and so much more. But the Trump Administration’s proposed budget cuts would make our jobs nearly impossible. 

His proposed budget cuts billions of dollars to federal agencies and the civilian workforce. It guts agencies like the EPA and State Department and fails to provide necessary resources to agencies like the Social Security Administration. Some agencies may get increased funding, but that doesn’t mean more jobs – just more outsourcing of care for our veterans and fewer people to support our Armed Forces and manage prison populations. 

The government belongs to all Americans – not just the wealthy corporate executives who would get rich from government outsourcing. If these cuts go into effect, taxpayers would spend billions on private companies and contractors to perform the services ‘we the people’ should provide. I urge lawmakers to vote against this destructive budget. 

Environmental Protection Agency   

To the Editor -  

I am a proud federal employee but please know that I am not speaking on behalf of my agency. I write this letter solely in my personal capacity, and as a member of the community. My coworkers and I work hard every day to ensure that our families have clean air and water. But the Trump Administration’s proposed budget cuts make this almost impossible.  

The Administration has proposed cuts of $2.6 billion in spending 3,200 jobs at the EPA. The proposal would end to programs that keep our Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay clean. It also calls for a 30% cut to funding to clean up hazardous waste sites, and ends the popular Energy Star program that has saved billions for taxpayers and small business owners. 

The EPA is essential to keeping our families safe and healthy. These spending cuts will not make America great again – they will make us sick and put all of us at risk. I urge lawmakers to vote against this destructive budget, and do everything in their power to stand with the EPA.  

Transportation Security Administration (DHS)   

To the Editor -  

I am a proud federal employee but please know that I am not speaking on behalf of my agency. I write this letter solely in my personal capacity, and as a member of the community. My coworkers and I put our lives on the line to ensure that travelers make it to their destinations safely. But the budget cuts that President Trump proposed would make our job of securing our airports even more difficult. 

Media reports of an 11% cut to TSA’s budget could result in longer checkpoint wait times for passengers and too few TSA officers to provide the screening of passengers and baggage necessary to maintain security. 

The Administration’s budget eliminates the Behavior Detection Officer program, removing specially trained TSA agents who monitoring their airports for threats around the checkpoint area. It also proposes the elimination of the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Program, that allows states and localities to request assignment of TSA officers to teams to conduct security sweeps.   

TSA is essential to keeping our travelers safe. These spending cuts will not make America great again – they will put all of us at risk. I urge lawmakers to vote against this destructive budget, and do everything in their power to stand with the dedicated officers of the TSA.  

Veterans Affairs   

To the Editor -  

I am a proud federal employee but please know that I am not speaking on behalf of my agency. I write this letter solely in my personal capacity, and as a member of the community. My coworkers and I work every day to ensure that our veterans receive high quality, integrated, and affordable health care.  

In the budget, the Trump Administration has proposed an increase to the VA's budget of $4.4 billion. It also requests an additional $3.5 billion in mandatory funding to extend to the Veterans Choice program past its August 2017 expiration. 

I hope this increase in funding is used to fill the 45,000 vacant positions in our current VA health care system. Today, the VA serves more than 9 million veterans at over 1,200 VA facilities and one third of its staff are veterans themselves. We know the needs of our nations' heroes better than any for-profit health care provider could. We believe veterans’ health care is a mission, not an opportunity to profit off of veterans’ wounds.  

I encourage lawmakers to ensure that this increase in funding is used to strengthen our VA system – not sell out our veterans to the profit-driven health care industry. 

Defense Department   

I am a proud federal employee but please know that I am not speaking on behalf of my agency. I write this letter solely in my personal capacity, and as a member of the community. My coworkers and I work every day to ensure that our Armed Forces have everything they need to keep our country safe. We ensure military readiness and allow the military to maintain command and control of all property and services required to meet the needs of our nation’s warfighter. 

The Trump Administration has proposed an increase to the Defense Department budget of $52 billion to strengthen the military, address urgent warfighting needs, and tackle deferred maintenance projects. But here’s a reality check: it’s only $18 billion above the previous request and fails to address whether there will be cuts to the civilian workforce. On top of that, it doesn’t address the impact on sequestration imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act. 

Lawmakers must ensure the funding increase is used to strengthen the civilian workforce, stop the massive cuts imposed by sequestration, and stop big payouts to high-cost contractors. We need a budget that supports our military and those who ensure our nation’s heroes have what they need to protect America. 

State Department   

To the Editor -  

I am a proud federal employee but please know that I am not speaking on behalf of my agency. I write this letter solely in my personal capacity, and as a member of the community. My coworkers and I work every day to keep our country safe and prosperous through diplomacy and international cooperation. But the Trump Administration’s proposed budget cuts would make our jobs even more difficult. 

The budget proposes cuts of 28% to the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development . It also calls on both institutions to reorganize and consolidate – a move that could leave thousands of public servants without jobs. The budget eliminates the U.N. Green Climate Fund and other U.N. climate change programs and ends funding for humanitarian crises and conflict resolution efforts. 

These cuts will be a huge blow to the Department of State's ability to work with other nations on solving the problems that face our interconnected world. These spending cuts will not make America great again – they will put all of us at risk. I urge lawmakers to vote against this destructive budget, and do everything in their power to stand with the good people at the Department of State. 

Social Security Administration   

To the Editor -  

I am a proud federal employee but please know that I am not speaking on behalf of my agency. I write this letter solely in my personal capacity, and as a member of the community. My coworkers and I work every day to ensure that our seniors and their families receive the benefits they have earned. But the Trump Administration’s proposed budget would make our jobs even more difficult. 

The budget keeps spending flat for the Social Security Administration. Static funding means we are unable to deliver on our promises as well as we should. There isn’t enough funding to provide face-to-face service to seniors looking to claim their benefits. And it’ll be more difficult for complex cases to be solved – like if a member of the armed forces is killed, and the family needs help in making sure the benefits are properly transferred to their children.  

These spending cuts will not make America great again – they will put the benefits Americans have earned at risk. I urge lawmakers to vote against this destructive budget, and do everything in their power to stand with the Social Security Administration. 

Federal Bureau of Prisons (DOJ)   

To the Editor -  

As a proud member of the American Federation of Government Employees, my coworkers and I put our lives on the line to ensure that our communities know peace and our nation's inmates are rehabilitated.  

The Trump Administration has proposed a budget increase for the Bureau of Prisons: $80 million to reduce dangerous inmate overcrowding at high-security prisons, and $113 million to repair and modernize our nation's outdated federal prisons. That’s a positive first step, particularly since we have been understaffed and underfunded for too long.  

However, the Administration has wrong-headedly heaped high praise on the work of private prison corporations and proposed an increase in use of private prisons. Private prisons are dangerous as they have less accountability and training than federal facilities. And to make a profit, they require a constant stream of new inmates. 

It’s important that we keep our streets safe and try and make inmates into productive citizens. The proposed increase in funding must be used to make prisons safer for both correctional workers and inmates alike – not wasted on pricey contractors. I encourage my lawmakers to ensure that this funding does not go to unaccountable private prison corporations, and instead goes to the hardworking men and women in the Bureau of Prisons. 

Additional Resources

  • Details on submissions for the 100 largest U.S. newspapers: http://www.ccmc.org/node/16179
  • Writing & Submitting Letters to the Editor [Video]: http://screencast.com/t/WPNMBRKgG1OD

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