Lobbying lawmakers is not as scary as you think

Join a coalition of organizations on Thursday, February 1st for our annual Water Lobby Day.

January 24, 2024

Register by Jan 28th

By Riley Weeks, Communications Intern

It rains almost half the year in Western Washington. It falls into our lakes, rivers, streams and eventually runs into our bays and sounds. As it travels from sky to sea, humans interact with water in myriad ways. We drink it, bathe in it, use it to water our crops and livestock. We play in it too, and find joy in raging rapids and calm glassy seas.

Water is everything. And this February, you have an opportunity to protect it. Washington state lawmakers are convening in Olympia to pass laws that could reduce plastic pollution, prevent salmon mortality, strengthen pollution protections for vulnerable communities and more.

Join us on Thursday, February 1st for our annual Water Lobby Day! Volunteers must be in Olympia by 9:30 a.m., with trainings and breakout groups designed to set you up for success starting at 10 a.m. We will have short meetings set up with legislators or their staffers. Remember that lawmakers want to talk with you, their constituents!

What can I expect at Water Lobby Day?

Training will cover what bills you will be lobbying for or against and provides a space for you to ask questions. The Lobby Day team will get you up to speed on the basics of each bill we’re supporting, so you don’t need to know a lot going in. All you need is the desire to keep Washington’s waterways clean and plentiful. You’ll also be given a role within your lobbying team, such as: 

  • Leader/facilitator: Don’t worry, this role is filled by a RE Sources or partner organization staffer. They’ll keep the meeting on track and are the people you’ll direct any questions or concerns to. 
  • Storyteller: This is the person(s) that shares a compelling story with a lawmaker related to the relevant bill.
  • Notetaker: Keeps track of the basic’s during the meeting, especially the legislator’s stance on a bill or any questions you may have to follow up on 
  • Asker: You got it — this person clearly asks the legislator whether or not they support whatever bill or position you are discussing
  • Timekeeper: Keeps fellow lobbyists on track and may ask you to wrap up a comment if time is running out! 
  • Photographer: Takes a photo of the lobby team and lawmaker; make sure to ask for permission!

Throughout the day, you’ll be meeting with lawmakers to advocate for clean Washington waterways and preservation of our freshwater resources. This may feel like a chaotic process but rest assured that RE Sources staff and fellow lobbyists have your back! This is a fun and important way to let your local officials know that you care about water in Washington state. 

Tips for lobbying

  • It’s ok to not know an answer to a question (your notetaker can write it down and your facilitator can follow up with the legislature) 
  • Use the facts 
  • Make specific asks 
  • Keep it short and practice what you’re going to say with your group (lobby meetings are often 15 minutes or shorter and there are several bills to cover) 
  • Speak from the heart 
  • Although meetings with lawmakers can sound nerve racking, the only actual pressure is on the lawmakers themselves. They have to listen to YOU and your concerns. 

Eleanor Hines, RE Sources’s lead scientist and North Sound Waterkeeper, as well as Kaïa Hayes, our community engagement specialist, will be attending Water Lobby Day with you. Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Partner organizations
  • RE Sources
  • Puget Soundkeeper Alliance
  • Center for Environmental Law & Policy
  • Spokane Riverkeeper
  • Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team
  • Twin Harbors Waterkeeper