Rep. My-Linh Thai makes history as Washington’s first refugee legislator

OLYMPIA – It’s a historic first: Rep. My-Linh Thai, D-Bellevue, is the first refugee to be sworn in to the Washington State Legislature. She took her oath of office during the House’s opening day ceremonies today.

“Our Legislature should reflect the many diverse communities throughout our state, and that’s why it is a tremendous honor for me to bring my experience as a refugee to this job,” Rep. Thai said. “I’m committed to being a voice not only for refugees, but for all communities that are underrepresented in state government.”

Rep. Thai immigrated to Washington state as a Vietnamese refugee when she was 15 years old. She graduated with honors from Federal Way High School and from the University of Washington School of Pharmacy.

Thanks to the early support she received as a student when she arrived in the state, she became an advocate for ensuring equity and access in education. The parent of two children who attend Bellevue Schools, Rep. Thai began her advocacy as a PTSA parent volunteer and received the Washington State PTA Outstanding Advocate Award in 2013. She served as a school board director for the Bellevue School Board, and was elected by her fellow board directors to serve as Vice President of the Washington State School Board Directors Association (WSSDA).

In the House, Rep. Thai has been appointed vice chair of the Civil Rights & Judiciary committee. She also serves on the Education and the Health Care & Wellness committees.

The 2019 Legislative Session runs through April 28, 2019.