The National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington State (NWPC-WA) identifies, mentors, educates, and supports women leaders in our community who demonstrate a commitment to Reproductive Freedom and Women’s Economic and Social Equality and Equity.
First women politicians in Washington State
Reba Hurn was Washington’s first state senator. She served from 1923 to 1931. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Hurn was a former high school teacher and lawyer.
Bertha K. Landes was the first female mayor of a major American city. In 1924, Landes, then a Republican city council president (and one of the first two women elected to the council, along with Kathryn Miracle), became acting mayor of Seattle. Two years later Bertha was elected mayor in her own right in a campaign run by women and with the slogan of “municipal housekeeping.” She lost her bid for a second full term. Today, Bertha has her own Facebook page.
Dixy Lee Ray, a marine biologist, was Washington’s first female governor, serving from 1977-1981. Her 1976 campaign slogan was “Little lady takes on big boys.”
Patty Murray became Washington’s first female US senator in 1992. Murray started her career as a teacher, then served on Shoreline’s school board and in the State Senate. In 2001, Murray became the first woman to serve as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Carolyn Dimmick became the first female Washington state Supreme Court justice in the Northeast District Court. She then became a superior court judge of the King County Superior Court and later a Justice of the Washington Supreme Court. Dimmick then became a judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, later serving as chief judge.
Sue Rahr was elected as King County’s first female Sheriff in 2005. She served as sheriff for seven years and retired in 2012.
NWPC-WA early endorsement process begins each year in April, and regular endorsements take place in June. To be considered for endorsement, candidates must complete a questionnaire. Candidates who have not previously been endorsed by the Caucus must also participate in an interview with a team of Caucus volunteers.
To qualify for the Caucus’ endorsement, candidates must be women*, and must demonstrate support for equal rights, reproductive freedom, and social equity and justice for women. In addition, they must have a competitive campaign plan. *Non-binary candidates are welcomed and encouraged to seek our endorsement.
Caucus Local Endorsement Action Committees (LEACs) exist in King, Clark, Thurston, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Candidates in other counties will be interviewed by the state endorsement committee. The state endorsement committee recommends candidates to the NWPC State Steering Committee, which then votes to endorse them.
Membership gets you exclusive access to NWPC-WA events, opportunities to interview NWPC-WA candidates during the endorsement process, and brings you into a network of women leaders in Washington state. A portion of every membership goes directly to the NWPC-WA Political Action Committee – Washington’s only bipartisan PAC dedicated to electing more women candidates to public office. NWPC-WA Membership begins at $65 per year; student membership is $35.
While members receive event discounts and other benefits, anyone can attend NWPC-WA events and trainings. For a list of upcoming events and trainings, visit the NWPC-WA Events page.
The National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington is part of a national network of Caucus chapters.
About the National Women’s Political Caucus
The National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) is a multi-partisan grassroots membership organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in elected and appointed office. NWPC recruits, trains, and supports pro-choice women candidates at all levels of government.
In addition to financial donations, the Caucus offers campaign training for candidates and campaign managers, as well as technical assistance and advice.
State and local chapters provide support to candidates running at state and local levels by helping raise money and providing crucial hands-on volunteer assistance.