Meet Yasmin Trudeau
Meet Yasmin Trudeau, the newest State Senator from Washington's 27th Legislative District

Short­ly before the dead­line passed to return bal­lots in the 2021 Wash­ing­ton State gen­er­al elec­tion, the Pierce Coun­ty Coun­cil took action to fill the vacan­cy cre­at­ed by the res­ig­na­tion of long­time Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Sen­a­tor Jean­nie Darneille, who rep­re­sent­ed the 27th Dis­trict for decades in the Leg­is­la­ture’s small­er chamber.

The Coun­cil vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly to appoint Yas­min Trudeau, one of three nom­i­nees cho­sen by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, as the dis­tric­t’s newest state sen­a­tor. Trudeau will serve at least through the end of next Novem­ber and pos­si­bly beyond if she runs to be retained in the posi­tion and vot­ers elect her.

Trudeau is well known to the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic caucus.

Before join­ing Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s staff as leg­isla­tive direc­tor, she was a pol­i­cy ana­lyst, sup­port­ing the work of the Sen­ate Ways & Means Com­mit­tee and the Sen­ate Agri­cul­ture, Water, Trade & Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Committee.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson's legislative team
Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s 2020 leg­isla­tive team con­sist­ed of Brit­tany Gre­go­ry, David Pham, Joyce Bruce and Yas­min Trudeau (Trudeau is first from the right). Pho­to cour­tesy of the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office.

She pre­vi­ous­ly worked for Prami­la Jaya­pal when Jaya­pal was a state leg­is­la­tor from the 37th Dis­trict in Seat­tle. (Jaya­pal, as read­ers like­ly know, is now a Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive chair­ing the Con­gres­sion­al Pro­gres­sive Caucus.)

“Yas­min will have an imme­di­ate and pos­i­tive impact on the Sen­ate and the state as a whole,” said Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Andy Bil­lig (D‑2nd Dis­trict; Spokane) in a state­ment released by the cau­cus. “She will hit the ground as one of the most pre­pared new sen­a­tors this body has ever seen. Her advo­ca­cy, empa­thy and pas­sion for peo­ple and pub­lic ser­vice will be an asset and an inspi­ra­tion for her fel­low leg­is­la­tors and for the peo­ple of the 27th Leg­isla­tive District.

“Sen­a­tor Trudeau’s appoint­ment is won­der­ful news for our dis­trict, and I’m thrilled to wel­come her to the 27th LD del­e­ga­tion,” said House Speak­er Lau­rie Jinkins.

“With deep con­nec­tions to our com­mu­ni­ty through her lived his­to­ry here, she is imme­di­ate­ly ready to take on the work to address the needs of the peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties we rep­re­sent,” the Speak­er con­tin­ued. “I know she will be a hard-work­ing and effec­tive sen­a­tor, because she already has a strong track record of involve­ment in issues like address­ing gun vio­lence, mak­ing health care acces­si­ble and afford­able to all, and pro­tect­ing consumers.”

“It’s the grit of this com­mu­ni­ty that has shaped me,” Trudeau told the Pierce Coun­ty Coun­cil pri­or to her appointment.

“To me, lead­er­ship is rep­re­sent­ing the inter­ests of your con­stituents and earn­ing and con­stant­ly re-earn­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to rep­re­sent your community.”

“It’s been my hon­or to serve this dis­trict in the leg­is­la­ture for twen­ty-one years, and I’m proud to pass the baton to some­one as com­mit­ted to our neigh­bors as Yas­min,” said Darneille. “Her deep roots in the com­mu­ni­ty include grad­u­at­ing from Foss High School. Her devo­tion to the dis­trict, her vision for the peo­ple that live and work here, and her expe­ri­ence in the leg­is­la­ture will be pow­er­ful assets.”

Trudeau’s arrival in the Sen­ate will also increase the cham­ber’s diversity.

A Ben­gali-Amer­i­can, Trudeau is the first woman of col­or to rep­re­sent the 27th Dis­trict. Oth­er trail­blaz­ing sen­a­tors in the cau­cus include the 45th’s Man­ka Dhin­gra (a North­west Pro­gres­sive Foun­da­tion board­mem­ber), the 47th’s Mona Das, the 26th’s Emi­ly Ran­dall, and the 28th’s T’wina Nobles.

The Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus will in a few weeks be cel­e­brat­ing the fourth anniver­sary of secur­ing a major­i­ty in the cham­ber after five years of pseu­do-Repub­li­can con­trol thanks to Rod­ney Tom and Tim Shel­don’s late 2012 defec­tions to the Repub­li­can Par­ty. The cau­cus final­ly regained the major­i­ty after Dhin­gra’s 2017 spe­cial elec­tion vic­to­ry, and has held it ever since.

The major­i­ty expand­ed to twen­ty-eight seats in 2018, up from twen­ty-five, and it remained at twen­ty-eight fol­low­ing the 2020 pres­i­den­tial election.

In 2022, all forty-nine leg­isla­tive dis­tricts will have dif­fer­ent bound­aries, but no one knows what those bound­aries will be yet because the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion has not yet approved new leg­isla­tive or con­gres­sion­al maps.

Along with Trudeau, the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty nom­i­nat­ed two oth­er indi­vid­u­als for con­sid­er­a­tion by the Pierce Coun­ty Coun­cil as Darneille’s suc­ces­sor in accor­dance with the require­ments of the Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion: Desiree Wilkins Finch and LaM­ont Green.

The Con­sti­tu­tion states that when a vacan­cy occurs in a leg­isla­tive office, a suc­ces­sor shall be appoint­ed by the req­ui­site coun­ty leg­isla­tive author­i­ties from a list of three names pro­vid­ed by the polit­i­cal par­ty of the indi­vid­ual who resigned.

The 27th is locat­ed entire­ly in Pierce Coun­ty, so the appoint­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty fell to the Pierce Coun­ty Coun­cil and the nom­i­nat­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty was that of the Pierce Coun­ty Democ­rats. Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty rules pro­vide that the task of nom­i­nat­ing be del­e­gat­ed by either the coun­ty or state cen­tral com­mit­tee to a spe­cial nom­i­nat­ing cau­cus of precinct com­mit­tee offi­cers from that district.

Accord­ing­ly, Trudeau, Finch, and Green were cho­sen via cau­cus, and in that order.

Forty-sev­en of the fifty-one Demo­c­ra­t­ic precinct com­mit­tee offi­cers cur­rent­ly serv­ing in the 27th attend­ed the cau­cus — a turnout of over nine­ty-two percent.

Trudeau received a major­i­ty on the first bal­lot. Finch and Green com­pet­ed on a run-off bal­lot to see who would be list­ed sec­ond. That sec­ond vote was one by Finch. Green then won a major­i­ty on the third bal­lot. A total of six can­di­dates com­pet­ed to earn the PCOs’ sup­port for inclu­sion on the list of nominees.

The results of the spe­cial nom­i­nat­ing cau­cus were sub­se­quent­ly rat­i­fied by the par­ty and trans­mit­ted to the Pierce Coun­ty Coun­cil for action. Coun­cilmem­bers inter­viewed the nom­i­nees and then vot­ed to appoint Trudeau, who was the first choice of the dis­tric­t’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic precinct com­mit­tee officers.

Trudeau was then sworn in by Wash­ing­ton’s Chief Jus­tice, Steven González.

NPI con­grat­u­lates Sen­a­tor Trudeau on being cho­sen to serve in this impor­tant role. We have con­fi­dence she will serve with integri­ty and work hard for not only the 27th, but Wash­ing­ton State as a whole.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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