First Insurance Commissioner
“It was so exciting to be part of the first big wave of women in public service —
to join so many others with heart, soul, and a passion for serving.”
- Deborah Senn
Born in Chicago – her Midwestern accent still peppering conversation — Deborah Senn
remains a fierce consumer advocate widely recognized for her candor and tenacious
Senn’s public service career began in 1992, when the Democrat defeated a 16-year
incumbent to make history as Washington's first woman Insurance Commissioner.
Senn’s achievements in office include the nation’s first regulations for environmental
cleanup claims, and advocacy for Holocaust victims denied insurance benefits after
World War II.
During her tenure, Senn also sponsored legislation to end insurance discrimination
against victims of domestic violence and to provide women direct access to their
In 2000, Senn launched an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate, losing the primary
to fellow Democrat and millionaire Maria Cantwell. In 2004, she took on Republican
Rob McKenna, a former King County Councilmember, to clinch the Attorney General’s
Office. Senn lost after a controversial campaign.
Today the Midwest native carries a well-worn passport around the globe. The former
Commissioner serves as a consultant for the United States Treasury, and advises
emerging democracies on insurance regulation. Recent trips include stints in Vietnam,
Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Algeria and Paraguay.
The longtime attorney worked for the Environmental Protection Agency in Illinois
before moving to Washington. In 1985, she settled in Seattle where she maintains
her current law practice.
Senn is trying a hand at theater and performing the one-woman show “Until the Last
Dog Lies,” documenting her 2004 race for Washington Attorney General.