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Black Legislators of Washington State: Home

Formerly "African Americans in the Washington State Legislature."

Introduction

This page is maintained by the reference staff of the Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State. Historical legislators were identified using contemporary newspaper accounts, interviews, news releases, and other primary source materials. Current legislators must identify themselves to be included. Given our process for adding new legislators, this guide may not be considered completely up-to-date. However, new information is added as it is received by librarians at the State Library, and subsequently confirmed by legislative staff. Please contact Ask a Librarian with updates, corrections, or concerns.

Biographies

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society

Name: William Owen Bush (1832 - 1907)

Party: Republican

District: Thurston County (at large)

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 1889 (First Legislature)

Occupation: Farmer

Notable Legislation: House Bill 90 to establish a college for the study of the science of agriculture, which eventually became Washington State University.

Biography: Black Past | Historylink | Obituary

 

Photo courtesy of the Washington Digital Archives

Name: John H. Ryan (1865 - 1943)

Party: Farm Labor; Republican; Democrat

District: 38 Pierce County; 28 Pierce County

Branch: House of Representatives and Senate

Years Served: 1921-1924 Farm Labor; 1931-1932 Republican, House of Representatives for District 38. 1933-1936 Democrat, Senate; 1941-1942 Democrat, House of Representatives for District 28.

Notable Legislation: Successfully argued against an anti-interracial marriage bill in 1921

Biography: Black Past | Historylink

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Archives

Name: Charles M. Stokes (1903 - 1996)

Party: Republican

District: 37 King County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 1951-1954; 1957-1958

Occupation: Attorney

Notable Legislation: Co-sponsor of the Civil Rights Omnibus Bill of 1957

Biography: Black Past | Historylink

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Digital Archives

Name: Samuel (Sam) J. Smith (1922 - 1995)

Party: Democrat

District: 37 King County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 1959-1968

Occupation: Boeing Aircraft employee

Notable Legislation: SB 378, the Fair Housing Law of 1957

Biography: Black Past | Legacy Washington | Obituary

 

Photo courtesy of the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Inc.

Name: Marjorie Pitter-King (1921 - 1996)

Party: Democrat

District: 37 King County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: Appointed 1965 to serve an unexpired term, did not win reelection

Occupation: Accountant

Notable Legislation: Never participated in a legislative session

Biography: Black Past | Washington State Legislature | Historylink | Obituary

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Digital Archives

Name: George Fleming (1937 - 2021)

Party: Democrat

District: 37 King County

Branch: House of Representatives and Senate

Years Served: 1969-1970 House of Representatives; 1971-1990 Senate

Occupation: Athlete and Economic Development Manager for Pacific Northwest Bell/US West

Notable Legislation: SB 3230 of 1983, creating the Office of Minority & Women's Business Enterprises

Biography: Black Past | Obituary | YouTube

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Digital Archives

Name: Peggy Joan Maxie (1936 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 37 King County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 1971-1982

Occupation: Social Worker

Notable Legislation: Prime Sponsor of the Landlord-Tenant Act of 1973

Biography: Black Past | Historylink | Washington State Legislature

 

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Digital Archives

Name: Michael K. Ross (1941 - 2007)

Party: Republican

District: 37 King County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 1971-1972

Occupation: Contractor

Notable Legislation: HB 214, closing loopholes in the laws regarding the recall of elected officials

Biography: Black Past | Historylink | Obituary

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Archives

Name: William (Bill) Smitherman (1943 - 2021)

Party: Democrat

District: 26 Pierce and Kitsap Counties

Branch: House of Representatives and Senate

Years Served: 1983-1986 House of Representatives; 1986-1990 Senate

Occupation: Management - Planning Consultant

Notable Legislation: SB 6095, creating University of Washington, Tacoma campus in 1990

Biography: Black Past | Obituary

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Archives

Name: Jesse Wineberry (1955 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 37 and 43 King County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 1985-1992 for District 43; 1993-1994 for District 37

Occupation: Unlisted in the Legislative Manual

Notable Legislation: HB 2319 Programs to Reduce Youth Violence in 1994

Biography: Black Past | Historylink | LinkedIn

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Archives

Name: Rosa Franklin (1927 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 29 Pierce County

Branch: House of Representatives and Senate

Years Served: 1991-1993 House of Representatives; first appointed, subsequently reelected 1993-2010 Senate

Occupation: Nursing

Notable Legislation: SB 5584, the Washington Housing Policy Act of 1993

Biography: Black Past | Legacy Washington | Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Archives

Name: Vivian Caver (1928 - 2021)

Party: Democrat

District: 37 King County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: Appointed 1994 to an unexpired term, did not win reelection

Occupation: Civic and Human Rights Activist

Notable Legislation: HB 2670, relief for seniors and disability retirees on property taxes

Biography: Black Past | Washington State Legislature | Oral History InterviewObituary

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Archives

Name: Dawn Mason (1945 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 37 King County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 1995-1998

Occupation: Management Systems Analyst for Seattle Water

Notable Legislation: HB 2392, standardization of juvenile prosecution

Biography: Black Past | Historylink | LinkedIn

Photo courtesy of Senate Democratic Caucus

Name: John Lovick (1951 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 44 Snohomish County

Branch: House of Representatives and Senate

Years Served: 1999-2007 and 2016-2021, House of Representatives; appointed 2021 to an unexpired term - current, Senate

Occupation: Law Enforcement

Notable Legislation: HB 1460 of 2001, making not wearing a seatbelt a primary offense

Biography: Black Past | Senate website | Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of House Democrats

Name: Eric Pettigrew (1960 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 37 King County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 2003-2020

Occupation: Business Development Consultant

Notable Legislation: HB 2791 of 2016, forming the Washington Statewide Reentry Council

Biography: Black Past | LinkedIn

Photo courtesy of House Democrats

Name: David Simpson (1956 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 38 Snohomish County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: Appointed 2004 to an unexpired term, did not win reelection

Occupation: Teacher and Labor Advocate

Notable Legislation: HB 2727, requiring insurers who use credit scores to determine eligibility to file rating plans with the Insurance Commissioner

Biography: LinkedIn

 

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Archives

Name: Roger Freeman (1966 - 2014)

Party: Democrat

District: 30 King and Pierce Counties

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 2013-2014

Occupation: Attorney

Notable Legislation: HB 1868, Medical insurance for police officers and fire fighters

Biography: Wikipedia | Obituary | Obituary

Photo courtesy of House Democrats

Name: Kristine Reeves (1981 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 30 King and Pierce Counties

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 2017-2019

Occupation: Economic Developer

Notable Legislation: HB 1802 of 2017, the Wounded Warrior Shared Leave Act

Biography: Black Past LinkedIn

Photo courtesy of House Democrats

Name: Debra Entenman (1961 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 47 King County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 2019 - current

Occupation: Congressional District Director

Notable Legislation: 

Biography: Black Past House website | LinkedIn

Photo courtesy of House Democrats

Name: Jesse Johnson (1989 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 30 King and Pierce County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: Appointed 2020 to an unexpired term, reelected 2020 - 2022

Occupation: Public School Workforce Planning and Development

Notable Legislation: HB 2711 of 2019, Improving educational outcomes for homeless and foster care children

Biography: Black Past House website | LinkedIn

Photo courtesy of House Democrats

Name: Kirsten Harris-Talley (1979 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 37 King County

Branch: House of Representatives

Years Served: 2021 - 2022

Occupation: 

Notable Legislation: HB 1881 of 2022, creating doula professional licensing

Biography: Black Past | House website | LinkedIn

 

 

Photo courtesy of Senate Democratic Caucus

Name: T'wina Nobles (1981 - )

Party: Democrat

District: 28 Pierce County

Branch: Senate

Years Served: 2021 - current

Occupation: Unlisted in the Legislative Manual

Notable Legislation: Pending

Biography: Black Past | Senate website | LinkedIn

 

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