Lauren Davis grew up in King County and is a proud product of the public school system. Lauren’s first job was teaching at a Head Start program, and this fueled her passion for early childhood education. After college, she spent several years working in global development, as a Fulbright Fellow in Ghana, West Africa, and a consultant at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
While at the Gates Foundation, Lauren served as the primary caregiver to her best friend Ricky Garcia, who was gravely ill with untreated alcohol and opiate addiction. This August, Ricky will celebrate seven years in long-term recovery. When Ricky got better, Lauren got busy—busy working to fix the system gap that nearly cost his life. Although she was working full-time and attending graduate school, this became her crusade. She championed HB 1713, named “Ricky’s Law,” which was signed by Governor Inslee in 2016. The legislation created an involuntary crisis commitment system for youth and adults with life-threatening addiction. Ricky’s Law represents one of the largest single investments in addiction treatment in Washington state history. It was during those long days at the capitol advocating for Ricky’s Law that women lawmakers began asking Lauren to run for office. For her efforts, Lauren was given the 2016 Hero Award from the Washington Council for Behavioral Health.
The heartache of Ricky’s suffering propelled Lauren to leave her international development career and help launch a start-up suicide prevention nonprofit called Forefront. At Forefront, Lauren directed school and campus-based mental health and suicide prevention programs, working directly with high schools across King County and colleges across the state. She provided suicide prevention training to groups ranging from veterans to pharmacists to Grandmothers Against Gun Violence.
Lauren helped to found the Washington Recovery Alliance, where she now serves as the organization’s first Executive Director. She served on the Public Policy Committee for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Washington State and also served for many years on King County’s Behavioral Health Advisory Board. Lauren recently taught a mental health policy course in the Masters in Social Work program at the University of Washington. She is a strong champion for mental health and addiction recovery, strengthening our schools, reforming the criminal justice system, and affordable housing.
Lauren resides in Shoreline, is a member of Grace United Methodist Church, and plays goalkeeper in a recreational soccer league.