Patty first got involved in politics to fight back against politicians who were trying to cut a preschool program that her kids counted on. When one legislator told her that she couldn’t make a difference because she was “just a mom in tennis shoes,” she realized that if she wanted change, she was going to have to lace up those tennis shoes and fight back. So she called other moms and dads, she organized rallies and phone banks, she fought, and she won. That program was restored, and Patty demonstrated that everyday people can work together to stop out-of-touch legislators from hurting their families and communities.
Patty then decided to run for the school board and then the state legislature to make a difference from the inside on policies impacting families like hers.
And then, even though nobody thought she had a chance, she decided to run for the United States Senate because she saw that there were far too few voices like hers at the table when decisions were made impacting women and families, and she wanted to do more than shout at the TV about it — she wanted to change it.
And since the moment she was elected, Patty has used every tool at her disposal to help people, solve problems, and offer a clear and loud voice for progressive change.
As senior senator for Washington state, where the first positive COVID-19 case in the United States was identified, Patty raised the alarm early in the other Washington to push the Trump Administration and Congress to take the pandemic seriously. She fought daily for relief that would tackle the public health crisis and put workers, families, and local economies first, including developing and distributing vaccines, helping schools respond to the crisis and re-open safely, supporting small businesses, and helping families with paid leave, child care, and direct payments. She’s made clear that we can’t just go back to “normal” when normal wasn’t working for so many families in the first place, and is fighting for policies that lift up all workers and families, like a $15 minimum wage, expanded collective bargaining rights, paid leave and child care for everyone who needs it, and bold efforts to lower the cost of higher education and ensure quality health care is a right, not a privilege, across the country.
Throughout the Trump Administration, Patty was on the front lines in the resistance to his anti-worker, anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-middle class, anti-democratic administration. She led the fight against the nomination of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her anti-public education agenda. She led the successful resistance to Trumpcare each time Republicans tried to jam it through. And she has stood up and fought back each time President Trump tried to bully people, incite hatred, and move our country in the wrong direction.
Patty is one of the few members of Congress who is not only able to make a strong case for progressive policies, but is also able to break through the partisanship and gridlock to get results. Patty never gives up on her core principles and values, but she always looks for ways to work with anyone who is willing to work with her to help people and to make progress for Washington state families and communities.
After the government shutdown in 2013, Patty worked to finally halt the years of budget crises and restore investments in education, health care, and jobs. And as the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, she passed a law to finally fix the broken No Child Left Behind law and reached across the aisle to combat the opioid crisis and improve workforce training. As the first woman to chair the Veterans Affairs Committee and the proud daughter of a WWII veteran, Patty has worked tirelessly to improve health care, housing assistance and increased benefits for veterans, to hold the VA accountable, and to support military families.
Patty has never forgotten where she comes from or who she represents. She comes home almost every weekend, travels across Washington state listening to her constituents, and then goes back to Washington, DC to help families, solve problems, and fight for Washington state progressive priorities.