By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index
The year 2000 was the first year in the USA when female college graduates outnumbered male college graduates.
That trend has continued.
Many college and universities have more male students, but, for a variety of reasons, more females graduate.
The explanations may vary, but the end result is consistently the same; more women are supervisors, bosses and political leaders.
This is not your father’s city council
This is what we see in Tacoma’s City Council as of the November 2021 election. Sarah Rumbaugh, representing District 2, Joe Bushnell, representing District 5, and Kiara Daniels, representing Tacoma at-large, took the oath to serve on our City Council.
Add these women to the returning City Council member Catherine Ushka, District 4, and Mayor Victoria Woodards.
When you do the math, you can’t avoid the conclusion that the city’s nine-member Council now has a majority of women for the first time: Woodards, Rumbaugh, Ushka, Daniels and Kristina Walker.
The Council also has a record number of members identifying as Black presiding on Council: Woodards, Daniels and Keith Blocker.
This is not new. And it is not going to change.
Current Democratic Representative Marilyn Strickland was Tacoma’s first Korean and African American mayor from 2010-2017.
And in Olympia
The Washington State Legislature, along with the Washington State Senate makes up the legislature of the state of Washington. It is composed of 98 Representatives from 49 districts, each of which elects one Senator and two members of the House.
Of the 56 Democratic members, this demographic shift is stark; statewide there is a majority of female members – 33 female, 23 are male. You can see their photos and profiles here: housedemocrats.wa.gov/legislators/.
Maybe it is your father’s (GOP) legislature
Of the Republican members, the profile is more traditional; 32 males and 9 females. You can see their photos and profiles here: houserepublicans.wa.gov/representatives/.
I did not research this factor, but from each of these legislative profile pages it was blatantly obvious that the Democratic legislators were vastly more diverse across age, ethnicity and backgrounds.
Besides more people of color, our state’s Democratic Representatives looked to be, in most cases, decades younger than their GOP counterparts.
Washington State Senate
The Washington State Senate Democrats are made up of 28 legislators representing communities from Bellingham to Vancouver, Ocean Shores to Spokane, and many communities in between, and, as you might expect, very different people were elected to represent those very different communities.
The gender balance is evident by the 14-14 split between male and female senators. You can see their profiles here: senatedemocrats.wa.gov.
On the GOP side, as you would expect, the gender imbalance is more apparent with 14 male senators and 5 female senators. And, like the House, the age difference is glaring. You can see the profiles of the GOP senators here: https://src.wastateleg.org/senators/.
Meanwhile, in and around Tacoma
For better or worse, whether you love it or hate it, Tacoma has led the way in these changes. Whether you hate – or celebrate – diversity, Tacoma has it.
From religion to ethnicity or gender identity, Tacoma has it all.
The 27th District, which covers most of Tacoma, has had predominantly female representation in Olympia for many years, from Lorraine Wojahn who served in the House of Representatives for four terms, from 1969 to 1976, and in the Senate for six terms, from 1977 through 2000, including three stints as Senate president pro tem.
And Jeannie Darneille who was a member of the Washington House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013. After that, she was member of the Washington State Senate from January, 2013 until November of 2021.
To the newly appointed senator for the 27th LD, currently in her first session, Senator Yasmin Trudeau, and of course, the seemingly indefatigable Senator T’wina Nobles who represents the 28th Legislative District, which includes the cities of Fircrest, Lakewood, Steilacoom, Dupont, University Place, a few corners of Tacoma, Anderson Island, Ketron Island, McNeil Island, as well as Joint Base Lewis McChord.
A woman’s place is in the House – and Senate
The state of Washington has two senators, both women.
Patty Murray served as a Washington state senator 1988-1992, was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1992; reelected in 1998, 2004, 2010, and again in 2016 for the term ending January 3, 2023.
Maria Cantwell was a Washington State representative 1987-1993; elected to the Democratic House to the 103rd Congress, elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in November 2000, re-elected in 2006, 2012, and again in 2018 for the term ending January, 2025.
You can see a profile of women in our nation’s senate chambers here: https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/People/Women/Women-of-the-Senate.htm.
There’s a reliable old saying in foreign aid circles; if you want to make a lasting difference in any community, educate girls. Their education and preparation for public service will be the best investment that could be made for the future of any village, community or even an entire nation.
We are seeing this in action.
These women who represent us in Olympia and in our nation’s capitol get things done.
We might not always appreciate or support them, but they have a voice and a presence, and perhaps most of all, they have the determination you only get when you know that no matter how things look today, tomorrow will always look better.