Biography

Speaker-designate Laurie Jinkins 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.

In July, 2019, she was elected by her peers in the House Democratic caucus to serve as speaker of the House. She is the first woman and first open lesbian to serve as speaker of the House in Washington state.

Laurie 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 Senior Advisor at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, where she continues to serve.

Laurie began her first term as a state representative from the 27th Legislative District in 2011. Before her election to speaker, she chaired the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee. Her legislative priorities have included improving our state’s mental health care system to better serve patients, their families, and the public; promoting affordable housing policies and addressing homelessness in our communities; protecting people from discrimination and harassment; addressing the state’s long-term care crisis; and reforming Washington’s regressive revenue structure so it works better for ALL Washingtonians.

Core responsibilities of the speaker include serving as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives, chair of Executive Rules (House administrative committee), and chair of the House Rules committee. The speaker appoints other elected members to standing and statutory committees, signs all bills in open session, and oversees all employees of the House.

Laurie lives in Tacoma with her wife, Laura Wulf, and their 19-year-old 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