A "mom in tennis shoes"
As a working mom, Patty was never planning to enter politics. But when she saw problems in her community, she realized she couldn’t just wait for someone else to solve them. When local officials planned to close her kids’ preschool program due to state budget cuts, Patty took action. She packed up her two young children and went to Olympia to urge her state representatives to save the preschool program. While there, one male legislator told her she couldn’t make a difference because she was “just a mom in tennis shoes.” Patty didn’t let that stop her—in response, she organized a grassroots coalition of 13,000 parents that fought successfully to save the preschool program.
Patty saw the difference local government could make if it was more like the people and families it represents, which led her to serve on the Shoreline School Board, and in 1988, she was elected to the Washington State Senate.
In 1991, Patty watched the Anita Hill hearings along with the rest of the country where the fact that there were only two women in the entire U.S. Senate—and none on the Senate Judiciary Committee—was on full display. Patty decided to run for Senate in 1992 as a voice for Washington workers and families who were not being heard. Dramatically outspent, Patty ran a grassroots campaign of family, friends, supporters, and public interest groups to beat a 10-year veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives and win the Senate seat.
If someone tells you that you can’t make a difference, it’s because
-Senator Patty Murry
Work in the Senate
As Washington state’s senior Senator and a member of Senate Democratic leadership since 2007, Patty has a proven track record of fighting for Washington state families and breaking through partisan gridlock to solve problems, fight for progressive policies, and help workers, families, and communities.
In addition to being the first female Senator from Washington state, Patty served as the first female Chair of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee during the 112th Congress and served as the first female Chair of the Senate Budget Committee during the 113th Congress. She is currently Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
Patty was a leader in Congress in the fight against COVID-19 and works daily for the relief families, workers, and local small businesses need to keep people safe and healthy. 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. As she always has, when Patty hears about the challenges working families are facing, she gets to work to find solutions, build consensus, and deliver for the people of Washington state.