Aug. 26, 1920: The day women won the right to vote!

August 26th, 2014|

On this day, 94 years ago, women all across our country won the right to vote with the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Many western states had already passed laws allowing women the right to vote – including Washington State in 1910, a full 10 years before the rest of the country.

On Aug. 18, 1920, Tennessee passed the 19th Amendment by a one vote margin and became the 36th state to ratify the amendment – the last state needed for a two-thirds majority for the amendment to be adopted. The documents certifying the actions of the Tennessee legislature arrived in Washington D.C. by train early in the morning on Aug. 26, 1920 and Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the papers to make the 19th Amendment part of the U.S. Constitution.

The follwoing map from early August 1920 shows that many states in the eastern half of the country had either limited or no universal suffrage for women at all.The map also shows that Washington State was the fifth state to approve women’s suffrage and was the first state to do so in the 1900s. The success in Washington sparked renewed efforts in many other western states, which ultimately led to Congress approving the Constitutional amendment for universal women’s suffrage throughout the country. Astonishingly, it took 131 years after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution for women to have full voting rights.

Today should serve as a reminder of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in advancing issues affecting women. We have many brave women to honor and thank for today – for the right of women in every state to vote and have a […]

Construction, road closures to begin on west Capitol Campus

August 5th, 2014|

UPDATE: Sid Snyder Way was partially re-opened in November. As of the end of December, landscaping and final adjustments were finished and the road was re-opened!

Sid Snyder Way, a main road leading to the Capitol Campus was closed beginning on Aug. 6 and remained so until the end of December.


The Washington State Department of Enterprise Services prepared the following update on the extent of the project:

Construction, closures to begin on west Capitol Campus

On Wednesday, Aug. 6, the Department of Enterprise Services will launch a construction project on the West Capitol Campus to repair utility infrastructure beneath Sid Snyder Way.  The work will require full closure of Sid Snyder Way, from Capitol Way to Cherry Lane, near the Legislative Building.  Construction will extend into November.  Campus tenants and visitors may see workers setting up fencing as early as Aug. 4, but street and parking closures will not occur until Aug. 6.

The work will repair substandard electrical ducts, aged water lines, and other deficient utilities.  When complete, the project will deliver a newly paved roadway with new sidewalks, landscaping, and drainage systems, and fully functional utility services.

Various disruptions will result from the work effort.  Campus users who drive will be displaced from their normal parking stalls, pedestrian walkways will be detoured, and InterCity Transit’s DASH shuttle bus service will be rerouted.  In addition, the public can expect construction noise and large vehicles moving through the area.  Work will be limited to the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The project includes 16 new street trees to line both sides of Sid Snyder.  These trees will help create a formal corridor for the southern entrance to the west campus and the Legislative Building, as outlined […]

Fraser receives Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation

July 29th, 2014|

The Foreign Ministry of Japan has announced that Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, will be one of only 10 Americans to receive the distinguished Foreign Minister’s Commendation in 2014. Fraser will be honored for her contributions to promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the United States and Japan.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive this Commendation from Foreign Minister Kishida and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said Fraser. “Our two countries share a very special bond. I am proud to see that through our state’s many sister-city organizations, the Washington-Hyogo Sister State relationship, and close cultural and economic ties between Washington State and Japan, we are able to strengthen that bond for generations to come.”

Fraser has been involved in sister city exchanges between the city of Olympia and Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture since 1980. Last year, she served as the chair of the Washington-Hyogo Sister State 50th Anniversary Host Committee and welcomed Hyogo Prefecture Governor Toshizo Ido and his delegation to Olympia. Fraser has also led successful exchanges between the two states.

This year, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs will award 108 individuals and 30 groups from around the world with the Foreign Minister’s Commendation. Each recipient will be presented with award certificates and commemorative gifts of pure silk furoshiki, a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth, from Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

To read the release and view the list of recipients from the Foreign Ministry of Japan, click here.

Ruckelshaus Center to lead Capitol Lake assessment

July 16th, 2014|

The Washington State Department of Enterprise Services has released an update on the timeline and process moving forward with the assessment of Capitol Lake. The following information is from their letter released June 23, 2014:

The Department of Enterprise Services has retained the neutral, university-based William D. Ruckelshaus Center to assess the issues and potential for collaboration around future management of the Capitol Lake basin. We are sending this letter in an effort to uniformly address questions related to the work that the Ruckelshaus Center will perform, including the nature of the work, the current status and anticipated timeline, and contact information for the project manager in this effort.

The Ruckelshaus Center will conduct an assessment of the issues, perspectives, and dynamics related to Capitol Lake management – and to gauge the prospects for a potential collaborative process to address those issues. This situation assessment will be a semi-structured, interview-based process to explore and better understand the issues and interests of involved parties, as well as the situation dynamics.

A situation assessment is a typical first step in exploring a potential collaborative process. It reveals useful information to inform next steps, which may or may not include a collaborative effort. The product of the assessment will be a report articulating the major issues and key parties involved, and documenting their interests and perspectives. The report will also analyze and explore the prospects for a collaborative process to address those issues. The assessment will include a list of those who were interviewed and the key themes that emerged from the interviews, but will not associate names with specific statements, in order to encourage frankness and open sharing of information.

The Ruckelshaus Center is a joint effort of Washington’s two […]

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    Women Leaders: Fraser meets with Irish Ambassador to the U.S.

Women Leaders: Fraser meets with Irish Ambassador to the U.S.

July 9th, 2014|

Recently, Sen. Karen Fraser had the opportunity to meet with H.E. Anne Anderson, Ireland’s first female Ambassador to the U.S.

During the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Women in Business and Leadership Initiative event, presented by the Irish Network, Ambassador Anderson gave a talk  which focused on the importance of the growing role women leaders play in government and international relations.

To learn more about the event, click here.

Fraser receives inaugural Washington Water Leadership Award

June 26th, 2014|

Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, has been awarded the inaugural Washington Water Leadership Award by The Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP) for her continuing commitment to responsible water policy and the environment.

“I am honored to accept this award, and I appreciate this recognition of my efforts over many years,” said Fraser. “Water is essential for all known forms of life and is a precious resource we all must share and protect. As we advance water policy in our state and region, I believe it is important to make sure that our policies are consistent with both the U.S. and State Constitutions; that we use the best available science; and we fairly balance the many competing demands for this limited natural resource.”

The inaugural Washington Water Leadership Award honors individuals and organizations who publicly advocate for sustainable water resource stewardship throughout Washington State and the Pacific Northwest.

The Center for Environmental Law & Policy was founded by University of Washington Law School Professor Ralph W. Johnson in 1993 and continues to be a strong voice for water resource management and preservation in our state.

Bill to combat human trafficking signed into law

April 12th, 2014|

billGov. Jay Inslee recently signed legislation to combat the horrendous crime of human trafficking.

“I understand it is a common practice for victims to be forced into cheap labor, prostitution, and sexual exploitation by means of coercion,” said Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Olympia, who sponosored the legislation. “I sponsored Senate Bill 6339 that will make coercion a felony, I hope it will serve as both a deterrent and penalty for those guilty of these life-destroying crimes.”

The new law will take effect in June.



Fraser honors legacy of women in the Legislature

March 9th, 2014|


OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate on Saturday unanimously approved a resolution honoring the rich history of women serving in the state Legislature.

“Today, we take for granted the fact that women are members of the state Legislature. Nobody thinks it is unusual, but that wasn’t always the case and we should always remember that,” said Karen Fraser, D-Olympia. “Women have made remarkable progress, especially in the last 40 years.”

Sen. Fraser notes that statistics show that a large majority of women elected to the Washington State Legislature, to statewide elective office in Washington, and to the U.S. Senate and House from Washington State have been Democrats.

Women currently make up 32 percent of the Legislature. In the late 1990s, Washington had the highest percentage of women in its Legislature of any state in the nation. In 1999-2000, women made up 40 percent of the state Legislature.

“In recent years, the percentage of women serving in state legislatures around the country has declined, so we need to continue to strongly encourage women to run for elected office,” Fraser said.

Quick facts

  • Currently, women make up 32 percent of the Washington State Legislature. There are 18 women in the Senate (10 Democrats and eight Republicans) and 29 women in the House (21 Democrats and eight Republicans).
  • As of 2014, 257 women have been elected to the Washington State Legislature since the first two women were elected in 1912.
  • Twelve women from Washington have been elected to U.S. Congress and five currently serve (three Democrats and two Republicans).
  • Currently, 1,784, or 24.2 percent, of the 7,383 state legislators in the U.S. are women. Democrats hold 1,136, or 64 percent, of those seats.
  • In 2014, […]

Fraser receives Distinguished Leader Award

March 3rd, 2014|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Olympia, was recently honored with the Distinguished Leader Award by Leadership Thurston County and the Thurston County Chamber Foundation. Fraser was honored for her years of public service as an elected official representing Thurston County communities and her advocacy of issues that matter to our community and beyond. Fraser received the award during a reception at the Red Lion Hotel on Feb. 26.

Sen. Fraser joins the Ruckelshaus Center’s Advisory Board

January 17th, 2014|

OLYMPIA — Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Olympia, has been chosen to serve on the advisory board of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center. The center is a joint effort of the University of Washington and Washington State University to resolve conflicts around difficult public policy issues. The center’s advisory board is made up of a variety of prominent local, state, and regional leaders.

“I am honored to serve on the advisory board of Ruckelshaus Center. It has a strong reputation for creative problem solving and I look forward to working with this diverse group of people in advocating for collaborative policy,” Fraser said.

The Ruckelshaus Center was launched in 2006 and is named for William D. Ruckelshaus, who served as first and fifth director of the Environmental Protection Agency as well as deputy attorney general and acting director of the FBI.