Kathleen Drew is Getting the Job Done in Washington State

By Muthoni Wambu on
October 25, 2012

Kathleen DrewNot since 1964 has a Democrat been Washington’s Secretary of State – 48 years. But now we have Kathleen Drew, who is also the only Democratic woman running for an executive statewide office this year. And WA has 9 statewide elected offices.

Drew, an EMILY’s List POP candidate, blows me away. Finding someone like Kathleen that's seemingly been preparing for this office most of her life is extra special.

From a small town in Ohio, she remembers going with her six sisters to vote with Mom at a time when voting meant pulling levers. And it was Kathleen who always took the most interest in it. Later, in her college years, everyone always knew where they could find her – at the campus gates, regularly registering people to vote.

Fast forward to after she bought a one-way ticket to Washington State, met her husband, became a young wife and new mom - to when public service called and she became the youngest woman elected State Senator in Washington . Since then, working on the policy staff of an EL sister, Governor Christine Gregoire, she's authored some of the state's toughest ethics laws . As the Governor herself said, "Kathleen just gets the job done."  

That’s why it is vitally important to have someone like Drew in the role of Washington’s Secretary of State. With the slew of Voter ID laws and voter intimidation tactics popping up across the states, it’s important to have someone as informed and prepared and most importantly as deeply principled to voter access like Drew, as the first line of defense.

 Drew wants to implement same-day voter registration “so people won’t get cut out of the ability to exercise their citizenship.” She’d allow 16 and 17-year olds to pre-register when they’re getting their drivers licenses. And she would produce a statewide primary election voting guide.
 It’s clear, Drew is committed to bringing in more voices from the electorate - not fewer - and she has a vision for how she'll do it.

“Today, there is a quiet assault on voting rights in this country,” Drew told a packed house at a recent luncheon, “Republican secretaries of state [are] trying to turn the electorate they have into the electorate they want.”

I was at this luncheon and the momentum was palpable. The room was packed. Governor Gregoire and Senator Cantwell (another EMILY’s List sister) gave the room goosebumps. And Kathleen - well, there was no question that a leader who has the best interest of the voters leading her charge stood before us.  And we all left ready to double our efforts to get her there.


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