Thank you for the opportunity to represent the 27th Legislative District in the Washington Legislature for the last twenty years. I have been working hard as your State Senator for the past eight years, bringing your ideas and concerns to Olympia. Together we have achieved great results in the face of tremendous economic and partisan challenges – from the small but important things like securing funding for the Washington State History Museum to making historic investments in our mental health system.
As the daughter of an Air Force sergeant and a nurse, I appreciated the sacrifices my folks made to provide for a family with six kids. They taught me to have a strong work-ethic and the value of giving back to your community. I know and understand the devastating impacts of economic setbacks like we are experiencing in this recession, and the need for assistance and opportunities to help people and families get back on their feet.
In 40+ years in Tacoma, I’ve worked with several social service agencies, including 18 years as the Executive Director of the Pierce County AIDS Foundation. I have worked with food banks, homeless shelters, early learning programs, women’s programs, and even the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. During these years, I met and married a local legal aid attorney, Howard Graham, and we subsequently raised three sons.
In 2018 I was selected by my peers to Chair the Senate’s Human Services, Reentry, and Rehabilitation Committee, leading the efforts to help children and families facing economic insecurity, care for the children in foster placements, reform the juvenile justice system, and address the conditions of incarceration and reentry for individuals affected by the adult justice system.
I also serve on the Senate Housing Stability and Affordability Committee addressing homelessness and landlord-tenant issues, the Behavioral Health Subcommittee addressing access to mental health and substance use treatment services, and finally the Ways and Means Committee developing fiscal policy and budgets for the state.
In Olympia I have a reputation as a determined fighter on social justice issues. I earn the respect of my colleagues in part by working hard on commissions and task forces such as: the Supreme Court Commission on Foster Children; the oversight board for the Department of Children, Youth, and Families; the Children’s Behavioral Health Task Force; the Juvenile Justice Partnership Council; the Sentencing Guidelines Commission; the Behavioral Health Oversight Board; the Attorney General’s Children’s Sexual Exploitation Commission, and others.
Quite simply, my mission statement is “To reduce poverty, end racial disproportionality in the justice system, and represent the needs of the people and organizations in the 27th District”. Much of the work relates directly to that mission. No matter what my role, I will always work to be the neighbor you can count on.
I am easily available to you- please feel free to email me and I will do my best to respond promptly. If you have concerns about legislative matters, you can contact me through my legislative office.
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