House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm

House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, in his office on Thursday, April 11. 

State House Minority Leader Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, offered congratulations Wednesday, July 31, to Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, after she was elected as Washington state’s first female House speaker. 

“Leading a caucus is difficult and demanding,” Wilcox said in a statement. “Leading a chamber is even harder. However, I have every confidence Rep. Jinkins will do an excellent job as Speaker. She and I came into the Legislature together in 2011, and we’ve been friends ever since. And while the Speaker must always have a statewide perspective, I’m pleased a representative of Pierce County is taking the gavel.” 

Jinkins replaces Former-Speaker of the House and District 43 Rep. Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, who held the post for nearly 20 years. He was the longest-serving speaker in state history. Chopp will continue to occupy his seat to focus on housing and homelessness issues, he said. 

Jinkins has said that she is looking for ways to make the House decision-making process more transparent. 

“While we will have vigorous policy debates, I look forward to working closely with Rep. Jinkins to find ways to be more transparent in our process and more open in debate. Through our works and actions, it is my hope we can give people across the state a sense of belonging to one Washington,” Wilcox said.

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