Sam has lived in Thurston County for nearly 40 years. He is committed to ensuring our community remains a wonderful place to raise a family, enjoy the outdoors, and do business.
This means the legislature needs to focus on fully funding education, protecting the environment, increasing opportunities for small businesses, and making our tax structure more equitable. In addition, Sam is a leader in making elections more accessible for citizens across Washington to ensure everyone can participate in our democracy. He sponsored laws establishing online voter registration and vote by mail elections and sponsored a 2016 bill to establish automatic voter registration.
Prior to joining the legislature, Sam spent more than 30 years in public service. Sam began his career as a high school teacher in the Pasco School District where he helped establish the first public alternative high school in the state; he later taught elementary students in the Montesanto school district. He was a federal education assistant to Superintendent of Public Instruction, Frank “Buster” Brouillet. He served as the education expert on the U.S. Senate Appropriations committee under Senator Warren G. Magnuson, was appointed as a Special Assistant for K-12 education for Governor Booth Gardner, and was the legislative liaison for the Department of Information Services for more ten years.
Prior to election to the House of Representatives, Sam was twice elected to the Pasco City Council, where he served as Mayor Pro Tempore, and eight years on the North Thurston Public Schools Board of Directors and was elected board chair twice.
In addition to his legislative service, Sam is a member of the Olympia Kiwanis Club, the Washington State Historical Society Board of Directors, and The Nature Conservancy of Washington State.
Sam is committed to ensuring all children in Washington state have access to a high quality education. Over a million children in Washington are not receiving the full public education services promised to them by the Washington State Constitution. As an educator, Sam has been a leader in the House working to secure funding to hire more teachers, improve wages in schools, and provide additional services to our students. He will continue to fight for our kids as a member of the state senate.
The Legislature cannot just wave a magic wand an provide the $3-5 billion needed to fully fund K-12 education as required by the state supreme court’s McCleary decision by 2018. He will advocate and vote for the necessary measures and additional revenues to meet this commitment.
Sam and Charlene have two adult children, Hillary and Nathan and wife Amanda who live in Lacey. The grandparents love sharing their time with grandson, and Hillary’s son, Rory.