How to Address a US Senator

Senator
Member of the United States Senate

I am confused on a basic question: When do you address a U.S. Senator as The Honorable (Name) and when as Senator (Name)?
—-—-—-—-– B.K.O.

Dear B.K.O.,

—-Official envelope:
—-—-The Honorable (Full Name)
—-—-(Address within the Senate Office Building)
—-—-United States Senate
—-—-Washington, DC 20510

—-Salutation:
—-—-Dear Senator (Surname):

The Honorable (Full Name) is the written form of his/her name. Use it on a mailing envelope or a letter’s address block. If you were to acknowledge his/her presence in the audience from the lectern, you would use this form. “Today we are honored to welcome the Honorable Peter Montgomery”. Then follow this with something like, United States Senator for (State)’, or ‘Junior/Senior United States Senator for (State)” etc.

Senator (Surname) is the conversational form of his/her name. Use it when orally and in a letter’s salutation. You also would use this form in a one-to-one introduction to provide the conversational form of his/her name to the person being introduced to the Senator.

– Robert Hickey  How to Address a US Senator

How to Address a Senator as Committee Member?

How would you address a letter to a U.S. Ssenator as a member of a committee? Thanks.
—-—-—-—-– Doug

Dear Doug:
Use this form when communicating with a Senator as a member of a committee or subcommittee:

—-Envelope:
—-—-The Honorable (Full Name)
—-—-(Position in the Committee)
—-—-(Name of Committee)
—-—-(Address)

—-—-Which would look like:
—-—-—-The Honorable Harold Hill
—-—-—-Ranking Member
—-—-—-The United States Senate Finance Committee, Subcommittee on Health Care
—-—-—-(Address)

– Robert Hickey

senator

How to Address a Former Senator?

Regarding ex-US senators: I get that they remain the Honorable (Full Name). But is it:
—-—-Dear Mr. (Surname),
—-—-—-OR
—-—-Dear Senator (Surname),
—-—-—-—-—-– Rich Hockberry

Dear Mr. Hockberry:
Yes, in writing they continue to be:

—-Envelope:
—-—-The Honorable (Full Name)
—-—-(Address)

—-Salutation:
—-—-Dear Senator (Full Name)

Former senators continue to be addressed as Senator (Surname).

When many hold the same office at the same time – the pattern is – all continue to use the title after retiring. Like judge, ambassador, military officer or doctor, being a Senator is not a one-office-holder-at-a-time position. Being addressed as Senator (Name) does not infringing upon the courtesies due a singular current office holder.

Thus, the tradition is former senators keep the honorific for social use after leaving office.

– Robert Hickey

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 Senator and His Wife?

What is the right way to address a card to a former United States Senator and his wife?
—-—-—-—-– VE at Airport Hills

Dear VE:
When addressing a senator and spouse, here are three formulae that work:

—-—-The Honorable (Full Name)
—-—-and Mrs. (Shared Surname)
—-—-(Address)

—-—-The Honorable (Full Name)
—-—-and Ms./Dr. (Given Name + Surname)
—-—-(Address)

—-—-The Honorable (Full Name)
—-—-and Mr. (Full Name)
—-—-(Address)

This last one works for a man, but also for any spouse who uses Doctor, Judge or any other special honorific:
—-—-The Honorable (Full Name)
—-—-and Mr./Dr. (Full Name)
—-—-(Address)

People who have official titles get their [title + name] all together as a unit – and not broken up or mixed with another name.  Not: The Honorable and Mrs. (Full Name) for example.

—-The salutation or invitation’s inside envelope
—-—-Dear Senator (Surname) and Mrs. (Same Surname):
—-—-Dear Senator (Surname) and Ms. (Different Surname):
—-—-Dear Senator (Surname) and Mr. (Same or Different Surname):

People often want to combine them. It is not horrible – just less formal:
—-—-Dear Senator and Mrs. (Shared Surname):
—-—-Dear Senator and Mr. (Shared Surname):

– Robert Hickey

—-See These Related Posts:
—-—-Couples: Private Citizens
—-—-Couples: Military
—-—-Couples: U.S. Officials
—-—-Couples: Same Sex

How to Address an US Senator Who is a Dr.?

How do I address an envelope to a U.S Senator who is also has a doctorate?
—-—-—-—-—-– Mrs. Justine Shuman

Dear Mrs. Shuman:
—-#1) The U.S. tradition is we use only one honorific/courtesy title at a time … It is either/or … not both.

—-#2) Since U.S. Senator has much higher precedence than being a Doctor, address as a Senator.

—-#3) Jobs/offices are not mentioned on invitations and  social correspondence.

—-#4) Since it’s to the couple, I will assume it’s social and won’t list that he’s a US Senator.

—-Envelope:
—-—-The Honorable Henry Wilson
—-—-and Mrs. Wilson
—-—-(Address)

—-Salutation or an invitation’s inside envelope:
—-—-Senator Wilson and Mrs. Wilson

See other options for addressing for a Senator and spouse on this page.

NOTE: Bill Frist, a U.S. Senator from Tennessee preferred to be addressed in conversation as Dr. Frist.  I’d think there are only 100 Senators … and a million doctors, so being a U.S. Senator is a greater achievement. BUT his preference was Dr. Frist … and everyone addressed him as Dr. Frist.—-—-—-
—-Senators who also were medical doctors or held academic doctorates …. all chose to be addressed as Senator (Surname).
—-
We address each person as they prefer to be addressed …. but when we encounter an exception it doesn’t change the rules ¬– it just stays an exception.

– Robert Hickey

—-See these Posts on Types of Officials:
——–Acting
—-—-
Candidate for Office
—-—-Deceased
—-—-Designate
—-—-Elect
——–Former
—-—-The Honorable, Use of
—-—-Interim
—-—-The Late, Use of
—-—-Pro Tempore
—-—-Retiree

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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