2021 Legislator of the Year Awards

After a statewide nomination process, Washington STEM is pleased to announce that the 2021 Legislator of Year award will be given to Senator Claire Wilson and Representative Tana Senn.

SKIP TO:  Our Awardees  ❙  Impact  ❙  About the Awards  ❙  Advocacy

Senator Claire Wilson and Representative Tana Senn deeply understand the needs of our youngest learners and families across the state. Their leadership in the authoring and passage of the Fair Start for Kids Act provides critical investments for children to access to safe, nurturing, and intellectually stimulating environments to reach their full potential in STEM and in life and help Washington’s economy recover forward by enabling tens of thousands of families to return to the workforce.Bish Paul, Policy Director, Washington STEM

View the press release announcing the award recipients for the 2021 Legislator of the Year Awards here.

Congratulations to the 2021 Legislators of the Year

Senator Claire Wilson

Senator Claire Wilson, District 30

Senator Claire Wilson represents the 30th Legislative District in Washington. Claire identifies as a lesbian woman and mother, and is one of seven LGBTQ lawmakers in the Washington State Legislature. A longtime resident of the 30th Legislative District, she has lived in South King County since 1999. Her district includes Federal Way, Algona, Pacific, Milton, Des Moines and Auburn.

Claire Wilson’s legislative work has built on her 25 years at the Puget Sound Educational Services District, where she was an administrator in early education and family involvement. Prior to that, Claire taught pregnant and parenting teens at Mt. Tahoma High School and was a senior grants and contracts manager for the City of Seattle’s teen parent programs. Most recently, she served as an elected school board director for Federal Way Public Schools for 8 years.

As vice chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee, Claire’s extensive experience with education and families has informed a wide range of legislation. She has worked on legislation to improve and expand access to childcare and early learning services, including the landmark Fair Start for Kids Act in 2021. She also sponsored successful 2020 legislation that requires comprehensive, medically accurate sexual health education to be offered to students in public schools across Washington.

Representative Tana Senn

Representative Tana Senn, District 41

As a state representative for the 41st Legislative District, Tana chairs the Children, Youth & Families Committee and sits on the Local Government Committee and the Appropriations Committee. Tana has championed legislation to make child care more affordable and accessible, keep our families safe from gun violence, close the gender pay gap, and secure access to mental health services and social emotional learning for our kids. Tana served as one of the first co-chairs of the Oversight Board for the Department of Children, Youth and Family Services.

After earning a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Columbia University, Tana worked for 15 years in government relations and communications in the private, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors before her tenure on the Mercer Island City Council.

Tana serves as Co-President of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, as well as on the board of Hopelink and the Advisory Board of the UW Masters of Applied Child and Adolescent Psychology Program. She has held previous board roles the National Breast Cancer Coalition, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, Mercer Island Youth & Family Services Foundation, and the Island Park Elementary School PTA. Tana, her husband, two children and their big black lab live on Mercer Island.

Legislator of the Year Impact

Hear from Representative Tana Senn as she accepts the award

Hear from Senator Claire Wilson as she accepts the award

About the Legislator of the Year Awards

Legislators must demonstrate an awareness of and interest in equity in STEM education, actively engage in Washington STEM’s focus areas, and advocate for improved policies and practices.

Washington STEM’s Legislator of the Year Award is presented annually to members of the State Legislature who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in advancing legislation and policies that promote excellence, innovation, and equity in science, technology, engineering, and math education for all Washington students, especially those furthest from opportunity.

To be considered for the award, legislators must demonstrate an awareness and interest of equity in STEM education in their respective communities, actively engage in Washington STEM’s two focus areas- Career Pathways and Early STEM, and advocate for improved policies and practices as they relate to STEM education.


Washington STEM Advocacy

With the 2022 Washington legislative session underway, Washington STEM, alongside our STEM Network partners, will continue to advance our policy priorities with Washington students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, and rural students at the center of those efforts.

This year, we are supporting proposals, bills, and initiatives that strengthen and create educational opportunities for historically underserved students in our state, investments that are sorely needed in Washington’s early learning systems, and increasing access to the critical technology that every student needs to support their education.

Read more at the 2022 Advocacy landing page.