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Biography

A community activist for more than 30 years, Sharon Tomiko Santos was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives in 1998.

Rep. Santos chairs the House Education committee and serves on the House Business & Financial Services and the Technology & Economic Development committees.

She also serves appointments to the Washington State Investment Board and the Washington State Education Opportunity Gap Accountability and Oversight committee.

Her legislative proposals reflect her strong advocacy for providing quality early learning programs for young kids, ensuring a well-trained educator workforce, and closing the opportunity gap. Rep. Santos believes Washington state must strive for providing education excellence and opportunities for all students to learn.

Outside of education, her key policy interests include civil rights, women’s rights, economic and environmental justice, affordable housing, and quality public education. She believes in providing level playing fields that allow those who work hard to succeed.

Rep. Santos has served on dozens of boards and foundations including the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and the University of Washington Business and Economic Development Program Board of Ambassadors.

She has received numerous awards for her legislative and community work including the Kip Tokuda Community Leadership Award from the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation and the Leadership and Vision Award from Junior Achievement of Washington.

A graduate of the Evergreen State College and of Northeastern University, Santos has worked in the banking industry, on staff to local public elected officials, and in senior management positions for non-profit organizations.

She resides with her husband, Bob, in the Rainier Beach neighborhood (Seattle) located in one of the nation’s most diverse zip code areas.

PERSONAL
Married

EDUCATION
Master of Arts, Northeastern University (1988)
Bachelor of Arts, The Evergreen State College (1985)

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Retail banking
Nonprofit management and fundraising

PUBLIC SERVICE
Executive Policy Staff, King County

COMMUNITY SERVICE
Washington State Investment Board (appointed 1/’12/2009)
United Way of King County, Seattle Community Council
YMCA Youth and Government Advisory Board
Japanese American National Museum Advisory Board
Japanese American Citizens League, Seattle Chapter Board
Council for Pacific Asian Theology

HONORS
2012 Recipient, Torch of Leadership Award, Association of Washington School Principals
2011 Recipient, Community Service Award, the Japanese American Citizens League, Seattle Chapter
2010 Honoree, 100 Pioneering Women, The Women’s Center at the University of Washington
2010 Recipient, Kip Tokuda Community Leadership Award, Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation
2010 Recipient, Multicultural Excellence Award, Washington State Association for Multicultural Education
2009 Recipient, DesJardins Youth Financial Education State Lawmaker Award,Credit Union National Association
2009 Inaugural Recipient, Leadership and Vision Award, Junior Achievement of Washington
2009 Delegate, International Programs and Women’s Legislative Network Exchange (South Africa),National Conference of State Legislatures
2007 Recipient, Community Award, Inter*Im Community Development Association
2006 Recipient, Hate Free Zone Leadership in Justice and Government award
2005 Recipient, TABOR 100 Crystal Eagle Leadership Award for Legislative Action
2000 Recipient, Bernie Whitebear Award, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation
1996, Honoree, Celebrating Women’s Leadership, Washington State Women’s Political Caucus
1996, Honoree, Top 10 Contributors to the Asian American Community, Northwest Asian Weekly, Seattle WA
1995, NGO Delegate, United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, China
1993, Recipient, Martin Luther King, Jr. “Keeping the Dream Alive” Award, Seattle, WA

YEARS IN HOUSE
Elected to the House of Representatives in 1998.

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
Education
Community Economic Development
Health Care
Affordable Housing

News

  • Governor signs Rep. Santos educational opportunity gap bill | News - March 31, 2016
    OLYMPIA – After several attempts in recent years, a high-priority bill for House Democrats aimed at closing the educational opportunity gap was signed by Governor Inslee on Tuesday at Aki Kurose Middle School in Seattle. The opportunity gap refers to... READ MORE
  • House sends educational opportunity gap bill to governor’s desk | News - March 10, 2016
    OLYMPIA – After several attempts in recent years, a high-priority bill for House Democrats aimed at closing the educational opportunity gap is heading to Governor Inslee for his signature. The opportunity gap refers to structural problems within the education system... READ MORE
  • House approves bill to address teacher shortage crisis | News - February 17, 2016
    OLYMPIA – The House of Representatives passed another bill aimed at getting more qualified teachers into our classrooms to address the growing teacher crisis in Washington. HB 2573 would ramp up teacher recruitment efforts, encourage retired teachers to return to... READ MORE
  • House votes to close education opportunity gap. Again. | News - February 4, 2016
    OLYMPIA – Not all students are the same. That point was clear today as the state House of Representatives approved a bill to close the education opportunity gap in Washington. The opportunity gap refers to structural problems within the education system... READ MORE
  • Statement from Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos on passage of the No Child Left Behind rewrite | News - December 9, 2015
    Congress approved a rewrite to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act today. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law on Thursday. The following is a statement from Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle), chair of the Washington State... READ MORE
  • Contact

    Olympia Address:
    JLOB 321
    PO Box 40600
    Olympia, WA
    98504-0600

    (360) 786-7944
    Email Sharon

    Legislative Assistant:
    Julia Kwon
    Email: Julia.Kwon@leg.wa.gov

    Toll-free Hotline:
    1-800-562-6000
    1-800-635-9993 (TTY)

    Committees:
    Education (Chair)
    Business & Financial Services
    Technology & Economic Development

    For Press Inquiries:
    Andy McVicar, Deputy Communications Director
    (360) 786-7215
    Andrew.McVicar@leg.wa.gov

    For broadcast-quality audio or TV/radio interviews:
    Dan Frizzell, Broadcast Coordinator
    (360) 786-7208
    Dan.Frizzell@leg.wa.gov

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    The information on these pages was created by House staff for legislative purposes and is a historical record of legislative events and activities. None of this material is intended to either directly or indirectly assist any campaign for office or ballot proposition. RCW 42.52.180 prohibits the use of public resources for campaign purposes.