The Washington legislature opened its 2020 session on Monday in Olympia, Washington. Many legislature members marched into the Washington State Legislature’s session wearing white to honour the women’s suffrage movements. Soon after, Democratic Representative Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma was sworn in as the house speaker. She became the first woman and the first lesbian to take up this role, the Herald Net reported.
- Laurie Jinkins was sworn in as the speaker of Washingon House on Monday.
- The speaker laid out a 60-day agenda which aims towards resolving the issues of homelessness, public education, affordable healthcare and limiting gun violence.
- Jinkins is a lawyer by profession and has worked for the Washington state department and the Attorney General.
- Since the 1990s she has spent her political career advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
“We are all witnessing history today, another barrier falls as the first woman in Washington State will stand on this spot and hold this gavel as Speaker of the House,” said Rep. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, who was the acting speaker for this session.
Women of the State House who dressed in white yesterday for the dual celebration of the election of Speaker @lauriejinkins2, our first woman and first out lesbian Speaker in state history, and the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage. Congratulations Madam Speaker! #waleg pic.twitter.com/X2DmJuutB4
— Rep. Noel Frame (@NoelFrame) January 14, 2020
Laurie Jinkins’ 60 Day Agenda
“Another barrier is broken today, but it won’t be the last, today represents another step toward inclusion, toward more seats at the table,’’ stated Jinkins.
She advocated that the problem of homelessness and housing occupy the top position. Jinkins demanded a ‘’comprehensive, strategic, and creative approach” to combat this problem. She also asked the representatives to work towards accessible, affordable childcare and lower healthcare costs and asked them to act upon climate change.
Another important point made by her was that lawmakers should look into reducing gun violence, safeguarding data privacy and investing in public education. There are only 60 days, she said. “It might not be possible to accomplish everything, I get it.”
“The title of my role might be speaker, but as I view it, my primary job is to listen. I promise to listen to every one of you, even when we disagree.”
Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, was just sworn in as the new House speaker, the first changeover in the powerful position in two decades. Here was the scene after she took oath of office. The cheering is still going #waleg pic.twitter.com/fnnRz5brwJ
— Melissa Santos (@MelissaSantos1) January 13, 2020
The Issues Jinkins Is Yet To Combat
Lawmakers in both Republic and Democratic parties decided on giving the issue of homelessness the utmost priority. Democrats hold a 57-41 majority in the House. They have an added advantage in the Senate of 28-21.
As per the recent annual report from the state Department of Commerce, 10,000 people in the state are without shelter and more than 11,000 live in temporary homeless housing.
Another issue faced by the lawmakers is that of transportation funding, following an initiative that lowers annual vehicle registration costs.
— WSAJ (@wajustice) January 14, 2020
Jinkins Personal Life And Public Advocacy
Jinkins is 55 years old and has a 19-year-old son. She is a lawyer by profession who has worked for the Washington state department and the Attorney General. She currently also works part-time as a senior adviser for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Jinkins spent most of her political career advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
Back in the 1990s, she was the leader of Hands Off Washington, the state’s first statewide gay and lesbian rights organization.
The first bill passed by Jinkins as a primary sponsor was to ensure that same-sex marriage from other states would hold the same rights as domestic partnerships in Washington. The next year, she worked with the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. However, the voters approved the same-sex marriage act in the year 2012.
Image Credits: Seattlepi.com
Gaurika Taneja is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv