OLYMPIA—The following is a joint written statement from House Democratic Leadership on the passing of former Rep. Helen Sommers (D—Seattle):
“Helen Sommers was a force of nature in the Legislature. Her passing is a loss to the state of Washington and her extended family here in Olympia.
“There is too much to say about Helen for a simple statement. She was a dedicated lawmaker and served her district for 36 years. When elected in 1972, Helen was one of just 12 women in the House of Representatives. In her tenure, she rose through the ranks to become the chief budget writer as chair of the Appropriations Committee, where she safeguarded the public’s interest in fair and equitable budgets.
“Helen’s reputation as a strong-willed and sometimes intimidating force in the Legislature was complemented by her wit and cunning, as well as her ability to work with both parties.
“What many don’t know is that Helen got her start in Washington politics by working with the League of Women Voters and served as president of the National Organization for Women. Her passion for electing women to office continued on throughout her career and life.
“The House honored Helen by adopting House Concurrent Resolution 4400 to name the new ‘1063 Building’ the Helen Sommers Building. The respect and love she garnered from both Democrats and Republican alike will never be forgotten.”