Washington state made history today with the swearing in of Rep. Laurie Jinkins as Speaker of the House. The Evergreen State’s first new Speaker in over twenty years, Jinkins is the first openly LGBTQ person and first woman to hold the post.
In her role as Speaker, Jinkins has the opportunity to shape the next session of Washington’s legislature. In the coming session, she encouraged the House to focus on policies helping families. “We must focus our time in this 60-day session working to ensure greater stability for families and communities by getting people inside and out of the cold with a roof over their heads and somewhere to build a life,” Jinkins urged in her opening day remarks. “We’re also going to help our families, farms and businesses that are threatened by the effects of climate change.” Jinkins shared that her belief in the strength of family-based policy remains proven by her ability to legally marry her wife and to support their child through university.
Jinkins’ first piece of legislation when she was elected to represent Tacoma almost ten years ago covered minor issues in Washington’s recognition of same-sex marriages. She has since been a champion of public health, education, social justice and progressive taxation. This work, preceded by her leadership of the state’s first LGBTQ rights organization, shapes Jinkins’ legacy as she steps into her new responsibilities as Speaker. She joins California’s Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Oregon’s House Speaker Tina Kotek in the tide of LBGTQ leading state legislative bodies in the majority.