How to Schedule a Meeting With Your State Legislators
WSMA's government affairs team works year-round to advocate for the house
of medicine, but there's no substitute for physicians connecting directly
with their local legislators. Your professional experience is critical
context for lawmakers to understand when considering policy changes. Your
experiences and knowledge of practicing medicine in your community can be
invaluable to your local legislators and can help support WSMA's
legislative and policy agenda.
How do I know who my state legislators are?
Visit the state Legislature's
Enter your home address and click "find my district." Legislators
prioritize meetings with constituents, which is determined by the address
associated with your voter registration. If you own a practice in another
legislative district, legislators may still be interested in meeting, as
you represent a business and are providing a service in their community.
Make sure the preferred district type is "legislative" (Tip: You can also
use this feature to look up your congressional delegation!). Once your
district is located, the names of three state legislators will appear: one
state senator and two state representatives.
Where can I find contact information for my state legislators?
Contact information can be found in the
directory for Washington state senators
directory for Washington state representatives. Legislators are listed in alphabetical order by last name. In addition
to their contact information, these directories also include links to your
legislator's website and information such as their party affiliation,
leadership positions, and the committees they serve on.
roster of all House and Senate members
includes contact information for members and their legislative assistants.
When in doubt, email Chelsea Thumberg at
firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance
locating contact information.
How should I reach out to my state legislators to request a
Email will likely be the preferred method of communication for
legislators. Make sure to send the meeting request to your legislator, and
bonus points if you copy their legislative assistant! Legislative
assistants generally keep legislators' schedules, so your odds of getting
a meeting could be increased by ensuring they're in the loop.
Make sure the subject line of the email can clearly be identified as a
meeting request. If you are a constituent, include that, too, as
legislators make every attempt to connect with folks in their legislative
district. You may also include the topic of the meeting. If you are
reaching out during the legislative session to discuss WSMA's legislative
priorities, simply put "WSMA priorities." If you are reaching out on a
specific issue, name it.
Example subject line: Physician constituent meeting request / WSMA
The body of the email needs to include six details:
- Your name/affiliation and contact information.
Whether you are a constituent (you may want to include your address in
your signature block so the office can confirm you are a constituent).
- A request for a meeting with your legislator.
- The topic of the meeting.
- A timeframe, i.e., in the next two weeks.
Your availability (legislators will have very strict schedules during
session and while their offices will work with you to find a date/time
that works for all parties, if you know you are widely available on
Tuesdays or during lunch hours, it can be helpful to share that
information. Alternatively, legislators are likely to have much more
availability during the interim to meet, especially in district).
When should I reach out to my state legislators for a meeting?
Anytime! If you are reaching out during the legislative session it may
take longer to get a meeting scheduled as their offices will be handling a
high volume of requests. During the interim, legislators often have more
availability and can meet at locations in the district rather than in
Olympia. Ideally, your meeting will take place during the legislative
session, which runs from January through March in even-numbered years and
January through April in odd-numbered years. However, making a connection
with your legislators is a year-round venture, so interim meetings can
often be just as important to establish a relationship outside the
You may also let your legislator know your stance on pending issues or
legislation by emailing articles, responding to WSMA's calls to action, or
sharing your related professional experiences year-round. Please remember
to be respectful to legislators and their staff during these interactions,
particularly in terms of the number of inquiries or information-sharing
emails you send. No spamming!
When should I expect a reply?
Be patient. If you haven't received a response within one or two weeks,
don't be afraid to follow up to inquire about the status of your meeting
request. Also, please feel free to reach out to Chelsea Thumberg at
email@example.com for assistance.
What will the meeting format look like?
The 2023 legislative session will likely return to an in-person format.
Some legislators will welcome in-person meetings, and while others may
prefer to conduct virtual meetings. During session, most legislative
meetings last 15 minutes, and legislators may have back-to- back meetings
so they will need to stay on schedule. Legislators will be using Microsoft
Teams or Zoom; the legislator's office will provide the virtual platform
and connection details, so you do not need access to your own account for
these meetings. If you have concerns about broadband capabilities,
legislative offices may also schedule a phone call meeting if you let them
know that is preferred.
During the interim, legislators are more likely to have time for longer
meetings and to meet in district—at their district office, a local coffee
shop, or your practice!
If your legislator is unable to meet directly, they may request that a
member of their staff meet with you on their behalf. Their staff member
will relay what was discussed to the legislator.
How can I prepare for this meeting?
Check out these resources:
During session, the WSMA will compile issue briefs on our priority
issues. We recommend reading the issue briefs before the meeting so
you're versed in the subject matter. Issue briefs can also be shared
with your legislator after the meeting as a follow up to your
conversation. Stay tuned for WSMA’s 2023 issue briefs!
Attend our annual Legislative Summit. WSMA's government affairs and
policy team will share information about our priority issues and provide
a general legislative update.
for the on Feb. 3 in Olympia.
What should I discuss?
- Introduce yourself and share brief background information.
Explain the purpose of the meeting and your connection to the WSMA.
Pick two or three of WSMA's priority issues to discuss (you can't get to
everything in 15 minutes!), or issues that are of importance to you.
Share why those issues are top of mind: how they will impact you,
your patients, your practice, and/or your profession.
Including personal and professional anecdotes can be very effective.
Meetings during the interim often focus more on building a
connection than asking for action on a specific issue.
Leave some time for your legislator to ask questions. Building a rapport
with your legislator is important; think of the meeting as more of a
conversation than a presentation.
Offer to be a resource in the future to your legislator and thank them
for their time.
What should I do after I meet with my state legislator(s)?
After you have met with your state legislators, please feel welcome to
share your experience with Alex Wehinger at
firstname.lastname@example.org. If able, we'd love to
hear about how your meetings went; please reach out and let us know!
It's also advised that you follow up with your legislator(s) with a "thank
you." Not only is this a nice gesture, but we want you to be remembered
and begin to establish a relationship, and a thank you note goes a long
way! A thank you email is also an opportune time to share WSMA's issue
briefs (if your meeting was during session) on the subjects you discussed
with your legislator.