Reps. Mari Leavitt and Christine Kilduff at bill signing for House Bill 1137, compensation increase for Washington National Guard members for wildland fire response.

State Representative and Mari Leavitt is a mom, small business owner, education, former PTSA leader, and strong supporter of Washington’s military families. As a child of a military family and former human services administrator, Rep. Leavitt is well aware of the pressing needs for service-members, veterans, and their families including housing, child care, licensing for spouses to get to work, health care and behavioral health services, and other supports. Rep. Leavitt currently serves as Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs and as a member of the National Committee for State Legislatures’ National Task Force for Military and Veterans Affairs.

Mari joined the Washington State Legislature in January 2019 and immediately began working on priorities for her district. Her first law was a pay increase for Washington National Guard members who are called in for wildland fire response—the first pay increase for those Guard members who do that work in 30 years. She also established a cost of living increase for retired public workers who hadn’t seen a permanent increase in over a decade. Mari pushed for increased safety measures at state hospitals, sales tax exemptions for affordable housing and for organizations addressing homelessness. Finally, Mari has worked to secure construction projects all over Pierce County, from community projects including enhancing community and technical college facilities and for the University of Washington at Tacoma, to highway improvement and expansion projects to help reduce traffic congestion.

Working in higher education for over 23 years as a college administrator, Mari worked to make college and workforce development training more affordable and to expand community and technical education opportunities that help students succeed whether in high school or returning for worker retraining or to gain advanced skills. Her knowledge and experience in higher education landed her on the Post-Secondary Education and Workforce Committee, where she served as Vice Chair. On that committee, she has worked with lawmakers to improve access to community and technical colleges, apprenticeships, and four-year institutions, and to expand programs to prepare workers to meet future workforce needs. She’s also championed critical support services for foster care and homeless students.

In her role in human services and former Trustee of the Accountable Communities of Health, she worked with staff on many programs that focused on behavioral health, aging and long-term care, early learning, violence prevention, developmental disabilities for our youngest citizens, and affordable housing and homelessness. As a legislator, she continues work on these issues as Vice Chair of the Housing Committee. Mari also prioritizes the community needs of her district through various local capital projects as well as other critical funding needs through her roles on the Capital Budget Committee and Rules Committee. In 2022, she was also elected by her colleagues to the leadership role of Deputy Majority Whip.

Mari was selected to attend the 2021 Western Legislative Academy and to serve as a Higher Education Fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures. She is on the NCSL Education Committee and the Council of State Governments’ Education Committee as well as a member of the Washington Task Force Against Trafficking of Persons. She earned her associate degree from Tacoma Community College, bachelor’s and Master of Education from Western Washington University, and doctorate in Community College Leadership from Oregon State University.

She has been a resident of the 28th Legislative District for nearly 32 years and currently resides in University Place with her husband and children.