Passionate about climate change, economic justice, tax system, homelessness, food insecurity or minimum wage? Having influence in Olympia is key. Power in Olympia is based on relationships and your relationship with your legislators can make you influential. There are four simple actions that are important. And now is the time to do them. What are they?
Action 1. Research the candidates. Their campaign websites will be a great place to start. Also check out incumbents on the leg.wa.gov website. Find out who is most interested in your issues (either agreeing or disagreeing). What committees they have been on. Award extra points for committee chair in an area of interest. This will help you to identify your target(s) for relationship. Find out more about their personal histories. Were they born in the same area you were? Did you go to the same college? Do you share hobbies or interests? Or would you like to know about one of their interests?
Action 2. Be a part of their campaigns. That can be as simple as attending a campaign event, signing up for the newsletter and (if you support) getting a yard sign. Or it could mean volunteering for a couple of hours. Or donating.
Action 3. If they win with or without your support, send a congratulatory note. Build this relationship much as you would build any other.
Action 4. Meet with your legislators. Whether you get an appointment and how soon it is scheduled will depend on how much of an impression you made during the campaign. Scheduling with several people from your congregation who are also constituents will also give your request more weight.
Make some notes about your issues and about points of personal connection you may have. Be sure to talk about the issues in terms of your values. Legislators get inundated with facts and statistics; remind them of the human values involved. Check out 8 Things To Know About the Legislature. Written by group with whom we share almost no issues, it is a quick introduction to lobbying.
Once the legislature begins, you can email as your issues come up (depend on UU Voices for a heads up). Don't forget the contact them when a congratulations or word of thanks are in order. Make a date to visit (especially with others from your congregation) when your legislators are "in district."
If you have any questions please call Jolinda Stephens 360-339-4240 or email email@example.com.