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How to Be a Housing Voter

in Advocacy

Do you want to get involved in making an impact on the issues that matter to you? If so, you’ve come to the right place: contacting your representatives is a great way to ensure that the issues that you care about are prioritized by political leaders.

Right now, Tacoma Habitat is working hard to move House Bill 2219, a sales and use tax exemption for affordable housing developers, out of committee and to the House floor, and we need your help! You’ll find several tips below to prepare you to make successful and meaningful contact with your representatives.

  1. Do your research. Make sure you know exactly what it is you are calling about. It’s always a good idea to brush up with some reading about the issue you’re calling about. To take it a step further, be sure to read perspectives from both sides of an issue, especially if it’s a contentious one. This can help you make a stronger case when you call your representative.
  2. Prepare yourself with facts and figures. One of the best ways to ensure your concern will be taken seriously is to provide your representative with facts, data, and statistics to back up your argument. Though they may already have access to these, it never hurts to remind them of the quantifiable impact you are advocating for, and it increases your credibility as a caller when you are able to offer evidence about your cause.
  3. Decide who the best representative is for your issue. Before you make a phone call, you’ll want to determine which representatives have the most direct impact on the issues and policies you’re hoping to change. For example, if you chose to call a representative regarding a local policy, you’ll want to call your city councilmember, not your US Senator. It can also be helpful to consider the committee memberships of representatives; for example, HB 2219 is in the House Housing committee, so identifying whether your any of your district’s lawmakers sit on the Housing Committee can help you find the most impactful avenue through which to make your request.
  4. Be polite and respectful but firm and confident. Keep your call brief and to the point, as representatives are more likely to listen to a message that succinctly lays out the problem, evidence, and proposed solution. It can be tempting to hurl insults at a representative with whom you disagree, but this is not an effective way to advocate for the prioritization of your issue. Instead, look for something positive the representative has done or voted for in your issue area. Then, you can thank them for their contribution before transitioning into your brief argument statement explaining why they should pay attention to the issue at hand. And, ensure you use the correct title when addressing a lawmaker!

Still a bit nervous? Use this example outline, and tailor it to your representative and the issue that you’re calling about.

Greeting: Hello [Representative Name],

Introduce yourself: My name is [your name], and I am a registered voter in [district, city, or state].

Expression of Gratitude: I want to thank you for [an effort or contribution, or for serving as a representative].

Problem, Evidence, Solution: I am calling today to ask you to consider [briefly state your argument]. [State a quick statistic, fact, or brief anecdote that supports your cause]. In light of this, I am asking you [state the concrete action you are hoping for your representative to take – e.g., moving House Bill 2219 to executive session!]

Statement of Stakes: This is an issue that is very important to me and many of my neighbors. We hope that you will advocate for [the cause], which affects many of the constituents in your district.

Thank you again for your time and service, and we hope that you [take x action] on [x timeline].

Once you’ve prepared, you’re ready to call! But how do you find out how to contact your elected officials?

Here are some resources to help:

Federal requests:

Find your US House Representative

US Senators: Washington State


State requests:

Use this Legislative District Finder to find your representatives. Use this page to find the corresponding contact information. Use this information to ask your State Representatives to move HB 2219 out of the House Housing committee!


Municipal requests:

Locate your county or city’s webpage. Most local governments have pages about local leadership including Councils and Mayor’s offices. For example, find information about the Pierce County Council here.


Posted in: Advocacy