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The Impact – Q&A with Two New Senators (Backgrounds, Priorities, and Impressions of Olympia)

Mike McClanahan profile by Mike McClanahan

Episodes of “The Impact” frequently center on specific bills, policies, or issues facing the state. This episode is a bit of a departure. We focus on two of Washington’s newest legislators to find out how their backstories shape their perspectives and priorities in Olympia and hear their first impressions of serving in the legislature.

Sen. Yasmin Trudeau (D-Tacoma) was appointed to the 27th Legislative District senate seat vacated by former Sen. Jeannie Darneille.  Darneille resigned to take on a new role as Assistant Secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections’ Women’s Prison Division.

Trudeau is an attorney and prior to taking office she worked at the Washington State Attorney General’s Office helping to develop and promote the agency’s legislative priorities.

“I felt like there were a lot of expectations given my prior role as legislative director for the Washington State Attorney General in terms of what I would be able to accomplish in a short session,” said Trudeau. “There’s definitely been a lot of surprises and a steep learning curve.  I hope I’m meeting those goals, but it was really fast.”

Trudeau has also served as a commissioner for the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, staff council and policy analyst for the Washington State Senate Democratic Caucus, and legislative aid for then-state Sen. Pramila Jayapal.

“I’ve worked in this arena, as I’d mentioned, for the last couple of years, but never actually contemplated running for office myself or seeking the seat,” she continued. “The opportunity presented itself and I had a lot of positive outreach and encouragement and decided to shoot my shot, if you will.”

Sen. Simon Sefzik (R-Ferndale) is the youngest member of the Washington State Senate and the youngest senator listed in the available records, according to Senate Republican Caucus staff. He is 22 years old.

“The first day that I arrived to the capital I don’t think the security guards believed me. They thought that I was an intern or something and I had to sort of convince them that I was supposed to be there,” said Sefzik.

Sefzik was appointed to the 42nd Legislative District senate seat formerly held by the late Senator Doug Ericksen of Ferndale who passed away last December.

Sefzik worked as an Operations and Logistics Coordinator for Nomi Health in Colorado, he held a staff position in the White House, and prior to that was an intern in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the White House.   

“This was something that I would have never expected to be doing at the age of 22 and so it’s been really an incredible opportunity. I’ve said it’s a lot like drinking from a firehose, the amount of information in such a short amount of time.”

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