How to Address a Councilman or Councilwoman

For information on whether your council member is or is not addressed as the Honorable, see the next post – How to Address a Member of a City, Town or County – Council or Board, 

Not Addressed as the Honorable (Full Name) in Writing

—-Envelope, official:
——–Mr./Ms./Mrs./Dr./etc. (Full Name)
—-—-(Title of position held), (Elected Body)

—-For example:
————Mrs. Ann Buchanan
————Chair, Sumner Flats Board of Commissioners

—-—-—-Mr. William Fissette
—-—-—-Member, Arlington County Council

—-—-—-Ms. Dean Wilkenson
—-—-—-Councilwoman, Town of Hendersonville

—-—-Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs./Dr./etc. (Name)

Addressed as the Honorable (Full Name) in Writing

—-Envelope, official:
—-—-The Honorable (Full Name)
—-—-(Title of position held), (Elected Body)

—-—-For example:
—-—-—-The Honorable Richard Trotter
—-—-—-Member, Montgomery County Board

—-—-—-The Honorable Harriet Winslow
—-—-—-Board of Supervisors, Culpeper County

—-Letter salutation:
—-—-Dear Mr./Ms. (surname):
—-—-—-or if the preference of the bearer
——–Dear Councilman/Councilwoman (surname):

— Robert Hickey   How to Address a Councilman or Councilwoman

How to Address a Member of a City, Town or County – Council or Board

‘Councilman’ and ‘councilwoman’ are roles filled by citizens on a town, city or county council. The position can be either elected or appointed.

In some communities a council is not made up of ‘councilman’ and ‘councilwomen’ at all and are ‘members’ of the council.

‘Counselor’, ‘counsellor’, ‘councilor’ or ‘councillor’ are spelling used in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and other parts of the Commonwealth, and sometimes in the United States. They have the advantage of being gender neutral.

‘Councilman’ and ‘councilwoman’ are not formally used as honorifics in a salutation or in direct oral address. However, the staff of a member of a council may use the terms as honorifics for clarity, as when answering the phone ‘Councilman (Surname)’s office’ rather than ‘Mr./Ms. (surname)’s office’ -or- when referring to the member in the third person as ‘the Councilman will be returning in ten minutes.’

All that said, while ‘Councilman/Councilwoman (Surname)’ may not be the most traditional, it is sometimes the preferred honorific of a particular member, so follow the preference of the bearer.

Are They The Honorable?

Some are the Honorable – Others are not.

Technically anyone elected to office in the U.S. in a general election is entitled to be addressed as ‘the Honorable (Full Name)’.  In practice, members of many city, town and county councils are not – by local tradition – so addressed.

The only way to know the tradition in your community is to call the office of your local council or board – and ask.

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

How to Address a Former Member of a City Council?

How do you address a letter to a former city council person?
———————— Zoning on AOL

Dear Zoning:
I need more information.
—-#1A) How was he was addressed when in office?
—-#1B) What is the nature of the communicaiton?

—-#2A) If your community addresses current members as the Honorable, then that continues.
—-#2B) If you community does not address current members as the Honorable then there is no special form of address. Address as Mr./Ms.

—–—–The Honorable (First name + Last Name)


—–—–Dear Mr./Ms. (Surname):

—–—–Mr./Ms. (First name + Last Name)


—–—–Dear Mr./Ms. (Surname):

—-#3) If the communication is about some post-office personal commercial venture (If he/she is your insurance broker, and you are writing to him/her about a claim from a flood in your basement) use Mr./Ms. (full name)  – do not address as the Honorable.

— Robert Hickey

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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