Letters to the Editor: Joining a community conversation

Letters to the editor pack a punch because they allow continued conversation on an already identified community issue. Letters to the editor are hard to write, because they must be brief. But their impact in helping readers understand what issues are important to understand shouldn’t be underestimated. Here are a few tips for writing letters to the editor:

  • Letters to the editor should be between 100 and 250 words long.
  • Letters to the editor should connect directly to a story or topic the newspaper has covered. Not only does this bolster the sense of community dialogue, but it also increases the changes your letter will be printed.
  • Because of their brevity, letters to the editor are best if they address one point, rather than try to cover too much ground in too few words.

Template Letters to the Editor

If you are struggling with a letter to the editor, here are two simple templates you can use to get yourself started.

Budget numbers represent real lives

While your recent story “HEADLINE OF ACTUAL STORY HERE, DATE OF STORY GOES HERE” does a good job of outlining the mathematics that go into our state budget, it did little to illuminate the impact of those numbers on the lives of actual Coloradans across the state.

Health First Colorado, Colorado’s Medicaid Program, is certainly a serious expenditure in our state budget. But if you look beyond the numbers, what you will find are seniors who want to stay in their homes and need the supports to do so. You’ll find pregnant women who need prenatal care to have healthy pregnancies. You’ll find thousands of kids just hoping for a healthy start to life.

It would seem that an investment in health for its citizens is one of the smartest investments a state can make. And it is certainly one Coloradans need. In fact, one in five residents use Health First Colorado to get the health care they need. I for one support an investment in people and health, and I hope our entire community will join me.

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Investment in the health of Colorado is an investment in our future

Your story about Medicaid spending “HEADLINE OF ACTUAL STORY HERE, DATE OF STORY GOES HERE” missed some important points but focusing on budget numbers alone.

In fact, Health First Colorado, Colorado’s Medicaid Program does more than just fill a column in the state budget. It contributes to communities across the state in good paying health care jobs and the jobs they support. It contributes to our economy by injecting new dollars into communities, particularly those in rural areas. And it contributes to each of our pocketbooks by helping keep health care costs in check by providing access to health care to those who can least afford it. When people can access the care when they need it, they are less likely to use emergency rooms or fail to pay for their care at all, two of the biggest drivers of increased costs for all of us.

And beyond the numbers, you have real people who work and take fewer sick days when they have appropriate health care. Or kids who miss less school due to health and dental issues.

To say that Medicaid is just a column in the state budget, and one that we should cut, is short sighted for our state’s economy, not to mention, its people.

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