Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, has been elected leader of the Democratic Caucus in the Washington State Legislature.

“I am honored to have been elected as leader by the Senate Democrats,” Nelson said, following the announcement of the results on Wednesday afternoon. “We have a diverse caucus, but I believe I was elected by my colleagues because my foremost goal is to do what I was sent here by my constituents to do – work for them. I demonstrated my inclusive leadership style during the budget negotiations last year, and I intend to make that a focal point of my tenure as leader.”

As the assistant ranking member on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Nelson served as the lead Democratic writer on the 2013 Capital Budget. Also serving on the Financial Institutions Committee, Nelson — a former bank executive — is well-known for a keen command of the financial side of lawmaking.

Yet it is the human stories at the heart of Nelson’s drive to be in state government. She started as a citizen activist back in the mid-90s, focusing on consumer protection, and since coming to the Legislature in 2007 has continued that effort.

“I will do everything in my power to reach across the aisle whenever possible in order to find solutions to anything from budget deficits to fully funding education,” Nelson said. “But I think being a good leader – especially of a minority party – means you need to be both tough and fair.”

Nelson represents the 34th legislative district, which is comprised of parts of Burien, North Highline, Maury and Vashon Islands, and West Seattle.