Ten things: How to better connect with your legislators

During the event, hosted by the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, Building Industry Association and Building Industry Group, elected officials touched on a number of issues including transportation, education and stormwater regulation.

Legislators also discussed what local business owners can and should do to ensure that their voices are heard.

Here are ten of their recommendations:

1. Pen a handwritten letter. Said Rep. Harris, “I read my emails, but I really read letters. I get a written letter now and it’s a novelty.”

2. Act before session. Don’t wait until the legislative session begins to voice your opinion. The groundwork on issues starts now.

3. Speak with a unified, consistent voice in what it is that you are asking for.

4. Don’t hesitate to speak out on any issue if you feel you have something to offer.

5. If you’re in Olympia, call ahead (if possible) and visit your representative’s office.

6. Be prepared to educate. Sharing your expertise and knowledge will help your legislator to be better informed about your issue.

7. Look for opportunities in the community to participate in town halls and in “kitchen cabinets.”

8. Don’t rely solely on industry receptions to let your voice be heard.

9. Send an email. Said Rep. Orcutt, “If I have questions, I can easily forward your email – in your writing – to staff. Nothing gets lost in translation and that’s very helpful.”

10. Feel comfortable contacting us to share your thoughts. “We are here to represent you,” said Rivers.