• Start a relationship with your elected official. Try calling or visiting their district office, leverage a relationship you have with someone the politician trusts, attend community functions the politician is scheduled to attend, or work through their legislative aides — who often serve as the gate-keepers to the politican.

• Do your homework. Politicians do not know about every issue under the sun and you are probably much more informed so you need to do research on their positions and be ready with a focused, specific request.

• Your messaging has to be very clearly stated. They can only do one thing at a time.

• Be persistent about it! Most officials really do care about their constituents and want to make them happy. But it is the constituents’ job to follow up and hold their officials accountable if they say one thing and do another.

• DO NOT threaten them with your vote because that will only strain the relationship. Instead, do the opposite and introduce them to other leaders and organizations who support your issue so the officials see that the issue is real.

• Keep in touch by letting them know what is going on in the community. Show your appreciation by inviting them to events or sit at your table at an event.

— Jared Jonson, 27, former campaign field director for King County Executive Dow Constantine.

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