Washington State House Democrats


Meet a new legislator: Lillian Ortiz-Self, 21st Legislative District

Lillian Ortiz-Self was appointed to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Marko Liias, who took the place of retired Sen. Paull Shin.

In her current role as counselor at North Middle School, she works with a variety of youth in both a teaching and mentoring capacity. This, along with her work in several child-service organizations, has given her a deep appreciation and understanding of how human services can help families.

 Aaron BarnaLillian comes to the Legislature with a wealth of experience. In Illinois, she served as the clinical director of a mental health center, regional coordinator for the Board of Education, education advisor for the Department of Children and Family Services, and founder and former director of the CU Project, a center for Latino families and youth.

Her experience in Washington includes co-chairing the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee, being a member of the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs, the Achievement Accountability Workgroup, and the Student Discipline Task Force. Lillian was also one of the founders of the Latin Image Club at Everett High School, which helps Latino youth bridge barriers to achieve academic success.

She moved to the Snohomish area 12 years ago and has been living in Mukilteo for a decade, where she and her husband Clayton raised their three children.

We asked Lillian to tell us a little bit more about herself and her new position under the Capitol Dome:

Q: What inspired you to run for office?

LO-S: I wanted to use my direct experience across child-serving systems to impact the policies and legislation that affect our children and families.

Q: How do your committee assignments fit you and the 21st Legislative District?

LO-S: I believe in a holistic approach to meeting the needs of our children and families, some of which includes education, human services, transportation, and environmental issues. These committees deal with legislation that effects our families’ quality of life and I am excited to represent my constituents on these committees. 

Q: Is there a moment you’ll remember most from your first day as a lawmaker?

LO-S: Bringing the map of the 21st Legislative district into my office was a memorable moment for me. I felt the seriousness of the responsibility on my shoulders to assure that my families’ voices are well represented. 

Q: If you could pass any legislation, what problem would you fix?

LO-S: I want to continue to fight for academic success for all students. Our graduation rates across the state are not acceptable. We cannot continue to lose our most precious resources, our children.  I want to make sure our educational system works for all, including preparing students for the jobs of the future in science, math and technology, as well as career and technical education programs and apprenticeships for students who do not want to go to college.

Q: If we peeked at your iPod, who would we see?

LO-S: An eclectic variety. Everything from Macklemore, Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys and Adele, to salsa music, and musicals from In the Heights to Les Misérables.

Q: What is your preferred communication technique with social media?

LO-S: I don’t know that I have a favorite technique, but I mostly use Facebook.