OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state Senator Emily Randall told KING 5 her Kitsap County upbringing helped prepare her for a career in public service.
Randall is hoping to fill U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer’s seat in Congress in 2024. Kilmer, a Democrat, announced he will not seek reelection next year.
Randall was first elected to the state senate in 2018.
“Running for Congress is not that different, it’s just more people to talk to, and more neighbors to listen to, a little more miles on my car, but I love it,” said Randall, the youngest elected state senator.
If elected, Randall said she would be the first openly LGBTQA+ member of Congress to represent the state of Washington, and Randall would be the first out LGBTQA+ Latina to serve in Congress.
Randall said she learned at an early age how to work with people across the aisle, or in her case, the kitchen table.
“My dad was a Republican so I think fondly on our kitchen table conversations that sometimes were about challenging each other, but were always about seeing all sides of the issues and making sure we’re valuing and respecting each other,” said Randall.
Randall said she learned about the importance of helping others when her younger sister, Olivia, was born with microcephaly – what Randall calls a severe developmental and physical disability. Olivia died at age 20.
Randall said she watched her parents struggle to pay bills for health care and medical equipment, despite Medicaid coverage. It’s an experience that motivated her to act when she got to Olympia.
“I’ve worked on Medicaid expansion in Washington state. I’ve worked on health care expansion,” said Randall, “I’ve also worked on a lot of disability rights policy, including banning the practice of paying workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage.”
State Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz also announced she is running for Kilmer’s seat.
Franz has Kilmer’s endorsement.