African Americans in the Washington State Legislature

This page is maintained by the reference staff of the Washington State Library. Historical legislators were identified using contemporary newspaper accounts, press releases, and other primary source materials. Current legislators must identify themselves to be included. Anyone wishing to have their name appear on this page should contact Mary Schaff at [email protected] Please contact Mary if you have questions, concerns, or comments.

African Americans have had continuous representation in our state's legislature since 1957.

Name: William Owen Bush (1832-1907)
Party: Republican
District: Thurston County (at large)
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 1st Legislature 1889
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 | Wikipedia | Obituary
 

Name: John H. Ryan (1865-1943)
Party: Farm Labor; Republican; Democrat
District: 28 Pierce County; 38 Pierce County
Branch: House of Representatives; Senate
Years Served: 1921 -1924 FL; 1931-2 R House of Representatives for District 38;
1933-36 D Senate; 1941-42 D House of Representatives for District 28
Occupation: Journalist 
Notable Legislation: Successfully argued against an anti-interracial marriage bill in 1921
Biography: Black Past | Historylink
 

Photo of Charles Stokes 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 Ominbus Bill of 1957
Biography: Black Past | Historylink | Wikipedia


 

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 1967
Biography: Black Past | Legacy Makers | Wikipedia

 

Name: Marjorie Pitter-King (1921-1996)
Party: Democrat
District: 37 King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: Appointed 1965 to serve unexpired term
Occupation: Accountant
Notable Legislation: Never participated in a legislative session
Biography: Black Past | Washington State Historical Society | HistoryLink | Obituary
 

Name: George Fleming (1937 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 37 King County
Branch: House of Representatives; Senate
Years Served: 1969-70 House of Representatives; 1971-1990 Senate
Occupation: Athlete/Economic Development Manager for Pacific Northwest Bell-USWest
Notable Legislation: SB 3230 of 1983, creating the Office of Minority & Women's Business Enterprises
Biography: Black Past | YouTube | Wikipedia



 

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 Historical Society

 

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 of Bill Smitherman courtesy of the Washington State Archives

Name: Bill Smitherman (1943 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 26 Pierce and Kitsap Counties
Branch: House of Representatives; Senate
Years Served: 1983-86 House of Representatives; 1986-1990 Senate
Occupation: Management - Planning Consultant
Notable Legislation: SB 6095, Creating UW Tacoma in 1990
Biography: Black Past
 

Photo of Jesse Wineberry courtesy of the Washington State ArchivesName: 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: Not Listed
Notable Legislation: HB 2319 Programs to Reduce Youth Violence in 1994
Biography: Black Past | Historylink

 

Photo of Rosa Franklin courtesy of the Washington State ArchivesName: Rosa Franklin (1927 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 29 Pierce County
Branch: House of Representatives; Senate
Years Served: 1991-1993 House of Representatives; 1993-2010 Senate
Occupation: Nursing
Notable Legislation: SB 5584, the Washington Housing Policy Act of 1993
Biography: Black Past | Washington State Historical Society | Legacy Makers | Women in the Legislature
 

Name: Vivian Caver (1928 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 37 King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 1994
Occupation: Civic and Human Rights Activist
Notable Legislation: HB 2670, relief for seniors and disability retirees on property taxes
Biography: Black Past | Women in the Legislature | Wikipedia | Washington State Historical Society
 

 

Photo of Dawn Mason courtesy of the Washington State ArchivesName: 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 | Women in the Legislature | Historylink

 

Photo of John Lovick courtesy of the Washington State ArchivesName: John Lovick (1951 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 44 Snohomish County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 1999-2007; 2016-current
Occupation: Law Enforcement
Notable Legislation: Prime sponsor of 2001's HB 1460 making not wearing a seat belt a primary offense
Biography: Black Past | Legislative Website | Wikipedia

 

Name: Eric Pettigrew (1960 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 37 King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 2003 - current
Occupation: Business Development Consultant
Notable Legislation: HB 2791 of 2016, forming the Washington Statewide Reentry Council
Biography: Black Past | Wikipedia | Legislature Website

 

Name: David Simpson (1956 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 38th Snohomish County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: Appointed 2004 to an unexpired term
Occupation: Teacher and labor advocate
Notable Legislation: HB 2727, requiring insurers who use credit scores to determine elegibility to file rating plans with the Insurance Commissioner
Biography: LinkedIn

 

 

Name: Roger Freeman (1966-2014)
Party: Democrat
District: 30 King, Pierce Counties
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 2013 - 2014
Occupation: Attorney
Notable Legislation: HB 1868, Medical insurance for police officers and firefighters
Biography: Wikipedia | Obituary | Obituary

 

Name: Kristine Reeves (1981 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 30th King, Pierce Counties
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 2017 - current
Occupation: Economic Developer
Notable Legislation: HB 1802, the Wounded Warrior Shared Leave Act 
Biography: Wikipedia | Legislature Website

 

Name: Debra Entenman (1961 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 47th south King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 2019 - current
Occupation: Congressional District Director
Notable Legislation: pending
Biography: Legislature Website