TACOMA, Wash. — Washington's 2021 legislative session begins Monday at the state Capitol in Olympia. Lawmakers will face tough challenges, including how to balance the budget with decreased revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There will be several lawmakers joining the ranks for the first time, including women of color.
T'wina Nobles has been the president and CEO of the Tacoma Urban League for more than three years. She will be sworn in as a state senator on Friday, and will officially start her new job on Monday.
"Being the only current Black member of the state Senate and the first in ten years, means I have a great responsibility," said Nobles.
To take on the new role, Nobles has to leave her current one at the Tacoma Urban League, where she helped the community with housing and healthcare, education and employment, and has fought for justice.
In Olympia, she plans to fight for unity, especially in this time when people are divided on so many issues.
"I anticipate over the course of my term, I will see lots of protests and demonstrations," she said. "My ask is that we are all safe and civil and respectful of each other, so we can get to the real work. So we can hear the issues and take action on the issues for our constituents."
Nobles unseated GOP Incumbent Steve O'Ban. The race was an expensive one. According to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, the competitors' combined spending of more than $1.7 million, excluding independent expenditures, was the state's second most costly Senate race.
"To challenge an incumbent, it's a very expensive thing and especially someone that is well known. What I love is the community was very vocal, very loud. This is a way to be civically engaged and they showed with their votes, their dollars, with their time, participation that change is what we wanted to see in this district," said Nobles.
A search is underway to find a new President and CEO for the Tacoma Urban League.