Federal Level Representation:
- US Senators: www.senate.gov - Find your senators button in the top left corner
- US Representatives - www.house.gov - Find your representative by zip code in the top right corner
State Level Representation:
- State Senators - You can either go to your states government website (mine is access.wa.gov for example)
- Another great resource is www.openstates.org where you can search by your address on the right hand side and it will show you your representatives
- State Representatives can be found the same way as State Senators
- State Governor: https://www.usa.gov/state-governor
This is not an exhaustive list and I am sure there are other ways out there however these are sites that I made sure to explore and vet to make sure the information was accurate.
Honorable Senator Chris Gildon,
My name is Rhiannon Edwards and I live in Puyallup, Wa. I am a new constituent of yours as I just purchased a home and moved to Puyallup. I wanted to write to you to express my concern and disappointment in the recent legislative report I received from you as well as Rep. Chambers and Rep. Jacobsen. My impression that I got from that report was that there is animosity from you and your fellow republican colleagues toward your democratic peers. I felt that the disdain, phrasing, and repeated use of “they did this” and “they did not do” that continue to create a further divide not only within our state government, but within all of the constituents you represent. I would rather remove blame from either political party and focus on the true reasons your goals and initiatives were not met. Was it a budgetary issue? Was it a logistical issue? I do not believe that there was not a reason that these plans did not work out and I would be interested in looking more at the verifiable data and facts.
I would like to commend you for your interest and dedication you continue to exhibit for providing affordable housing options to Washingtonians. I have lived all over Washington state and people who are unhoused remain at the forefront of my thoughts and visibility. I have an uncle who is unhoused and has been for a number of decades. I unfortunately have not seen him since I was a teenager and I am 36 now. I truly believe the lack of resources or the accessibility of resources available to the unhoused is appalling and I greatly appreciate your efforts to address that issue. In addition to your already substantial efforts toward affordable housing, I would love to see you work in tandem with addressing the wage disparity that plagues our country and our state right now. Given that the widely accepted “rule” is that one should make 3x the amount of rent/mortgage payment in a month to be able to afford to live there, that is not sustainable at its current rate. According to rent.com, the median rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Puyallup is about $1750 a month. To make 3x that amount, you would need to make $5250 a month. This comes out to an hourly rate of $32.81 for a single income household before taxes and other living expenses. With a state minimum wage of $14.49/hr this means that many residents are forced to live outside of what is truly affordable to them. This is only one of the ways that housing has become unaffordable.
I wanted to close out my letter with one last viewpoint as your constituent. Your legislative report called for increased spending toward the police force and the statement that “we” have their backs. I do not support the police in its current iteration and feel that a complete overhaul of our policing system is necessary to reduce the amount of racially motivated stops, arrests, charges, and most importantly, deaths that currently befall citizens at the hands of those that supposedly have sworn to protect and serve our communities. I do not believe they do that and I believe that it will take reform to achieve that. Please take into consideration my advice to provide facts without blame, continue your dedication to the unhoused, and consider effective police reform.
Thank you for your time and I hope you have a nice day.
After I wrote this letter, Senator Gildon replied to me within about 48 hours and provided more information regarding the initiatives he supported and some budgetary clarity. He also offered to schedule a time to have a phone call with me, meet up for coffee with me, or continue our email communication. Here was the thank you note that I followed up with:
Honorable Senator Gildon,
I wanted to thank you for your prompt reply to my email. I am thankful that you have taken the time to read my message and address some of my concerns. I continue to have some frustration at the partisan blame that occurs on our governmental level and I know that going forward you will recognize that while you and your colleagues may have different opinions, you all have the same goal of providing what is best for our friends, families, and communities. I hope that bipartisan collaboration comes to the forefront of your efforts. Thank you for your offer to continue our conversations and I look forward to seeing where your efforts take us as a group into the future.
Sincerely and Respectfully,