“The greatest honor of my life has been the opportunity to serve in the House as a champion for children and families,” said Kagi, chair of the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee since 2002. She was first elected to the House in 1998 and represents the 32nd District, which encompasses Shoreline as well as parts of Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Seattle.
Kagi said she focused her efforts on helping foster kids, improving the child welfare system, reforming the state’s drug sentencing laws and strengthening early learning and child care.
Last year, she spearheaded the creation of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, which united programs and services that had been scattered among other state agencies. In 2015, she sponsored the Early Start Act which expanded high quality early learning to thousands of Washington children. She also led the effort in 2002 to reform the state’s drug sentencing laws.
“Ruth is the conscience of our caucus when it comes to children and families,” House Speaker Frank Chopp said. “With her leadership, the Legislature changed the way the state views early learning challenges, transforming the way we address these issues from separate components to a holistic approach.”
Kagi has also served as the chair of the National Conference of State Legislature’s Human Services Committee, the Vice President of the League of Women Voters of Washington and the Vice Chair of the Thrive Washington board of directors.
“It’s been a long journey, and I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished on a bipartisan basis,” Kagi said. “ I will dearly miss my colleagues and the excellent staff who work so diligently to make Washington a better place to live.”