Biography

Speaker Jinkins at rostrum

Laurie Jinkins made history on January 13, 2020 when she became Washington state’s first woman and first out lesbian Speaker of the House. She represents the 27th Legislative District in Pierce County, which includes East, Downtown, Hilltop, North, Northeast, West, and part of South Tacoma as well as Ruston and Fife Heights.

She is a native Midwesterner who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later a Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law (then the University of Puget Sound School Of Law). She also completed executive studies at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Laurie started her career litigating child abuse and neglect cases for the state Attorney General’s Office. She then shifted her career toward public health, eventually serving as an assistant secretary of health at the state Department of Health before taking the position of Director of Organizational Initiatives at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, where she continues to serve. She has also been active in advancing Washington’s anti-discrimination laws both prior to and during her time in the House.

Prior to becoming Speaker, Laurie served on the House Appropriations and Health Care & Wellness committees, and chaired the Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.

Laurie and her wife, Laura Wulf, live in Tacoma, where they raised their son.

Community involvement:

Fair Housing Washington, board member (current)
Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, board member (2010-16)
Tacoma Rotary 8, member (current)
Tacoma Community College, board member, chair (1998-2010)
Tacoma-Pierce County American Leadership Forum, board member, chair (2003-10)
Approve Referendum 71, campaign co-chair (2009)
Tacoma Community House, board member, chair (2004-09)
Seattle University School of Law, board member (2002-06)
Tacoma Charter Review Committee (local government reform), chair (2004)
Tacoma United for Fairness, chair (2002)
The Tacoma-Pierce County YWCA, board member, president (1991-96)
Tacoma Hate Crimes Task Force, chair (1990-92)

Honors and Awards:

Tacoma Historical Society, Star of Destiny Award, 2017
NAMI Washington, Legislator of the Year Award, 2015
Washington State Denturist Association, Legislative Champion, 2014
Tacoma Rotary Wickens Award, 2014
Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Public Policy Maker of the Year Award, 2014
National Association of Local Boards of Health Legislator of the Year, 2013
Children’s Alliance Legislative Champion, 2013
Tacoma Community College Honorary Degree Recipient, 2011
Fuse Sizzle “Mother Jones” Award, 2011
Pride Foundation, Rainbow Center’s Diamond Hall of Fame Award, 2011
Weekly Volcano’s Best New Political Power, 2011
Recognized by the Puget Sound Business Examiner as a Woman of Influence, 2007
Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management, 2007