Most people don't write or call their state or federal elected leaders until something urgent happens, such as a critical support is in danger of being cut, or a bill that could help you or a loved one is up for a vote.
Fortunately, the process is straightforward and legislators tell us that writing or calling is impactful. If they don't know about your issue, you are giving them an opportunity to learn. If they do know, and even if they already support you, hearing from constituents bolsters their position with other legislators. Even if they disagree, you can still give them information to consider and let them know how their constituents could be affected.
So ... here are the basics on contacting your elected leaders:
1. FIND THEM
Look up your state or federal voting districts here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/
- Enter your address. If you want your state leaders, click on LEGISLATIVE. If you want your federal leaders, click on CONGRESSIONAL
- A window will pop up. If you click on the names, you will find their phone and email address. All state elected leaders also use this email protocol: FirstName.LastName@leg.wa.gov
Look up your King County district here: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/elections/elections/maps/find-my-districts.aspx
You can find school board members by looking up your school board website. You can find city council members by looking up your local city council. TIP: In Washington, city and county officials do not have jurisdiction over schools. The school board is the governing entity for public schools.
2. EMAIL THEM
- Be sure to email all of the appropriate legislators. At the state level, you have two representatives and one senator. At the federal level, you have two senators (shared by the whole state) and one representative for your congressional district. If it is a state issue, only email your state representatives and senator. Congress has no authority over the state and can't help you if it is a state-level budget or policy concern
- Same goes if it is a federal matter. Don't email your state legislators if it is a federal matter. They have no jurisdiction and can't help
3. EMAIL THE GOVERNOR.
Or call. Here is contact information for Gov. Jay Inslee: https://www.governor.wa.gov/contact
WHAT DO YOU SAY?
1. Greet them by title and name: Dear Senator XX ... or Dear Representative XX
2. Identify yourself. Say your name and where you live/what legislative district you are in. Be sure to let them know you are a constituent.
3. State the problem/what you are worried about.
4. State WHY you are worried and share HOW you are connected to the problem. ("I am worried about a proposed cut ... it affects me and my family because ...")
5. State why THEY should be worried. ("This could hurt/will help me and other constituents because ...")
6. State what you want them to DO. (Vote for something/against something; fund something; commit to improving something, etc). Ask for something specific.
7. THANK THEM! And sign off using your full name, address, and contact information
You can use this same format if you call or if you testify in a public hearing.