I am proud and honored to represent the 27th Legislative District in the Senate, building upon the experience I gained during 12 years in the House of Representatives.
I understand the needs and concerns of families struggling to make ends meet. In the House, I worked to increase education funding for all learners; expanded health care for children, families, and the disabled; developed a safe environment for children and adults to learn, grow, and thrive; safeguarded civil liberties; and promoted economic opportunities to create living-wage jobs that improve the well-being of families.
This work is not finished and I intend to continue as Senator to be the voice of those in need.
I’ve been described as being as tough as a 50-cent steak. I love that description. My faith and experience has motivated me to work to improve the lives of the poor. My career has included: a decade working in colleges and universities across four states and over 30 years working in non-profit social service agencies. Each position increased my awareness of issues such as health care, poverty, homelessness, homophobia and mental health. During the interim between sessions, I now work and consult with non-profit organizations as they go through leadership transitions.
As the oldest of six children in an Air Force family, my folks taught me scores of life lessons – one of which centers on volunteerism. My volunteering started at Planned Parenthood in Bellingham and continues today. I have served on boards of directors for non-profit organizations across our community, cooked at the Hospitality Kitchen, worked on Habitat houses, and been a Big Sister. Suffice it to say, a person can get involved with many wonderful organizations in nearly 30 years. I know I have.
The 27th District has a history of supplying the Senate with strong, dedicated, committed women — most recently, Sen. Debbie Regala and longtime Sen. Lorraine Wojahn, with whom I was fortunate to serve as her aide during the 1985 Legislative session. It is an honor to now hold the same position as those esteemed senators after their retirement in service to the Legislature.
I received my bachelor’s degree in art history from Western Washington University and my master’s in higher education administration from Colorado State University. I’m married to Howard Graham, an attorney in private practice specializing in disability issues. We are blessed with three great sons and for 30 years have lived within a five-block radius within the district. I’m 63 and an avid baseball fan (Go Rainiers!).