I’m Marilyn Strickland, and it will be my honor to represent you in Congress. I was born in Seoul, South Korea. My father, who fought in World War II and Korea, met my mother while he was stationed there after the war. If elected to Congress, I will be the first African-American to represent Washington state at the federal level, and the first Korean-American woman elected to Congress in its 230-year history.
My parents endured discrimination and hardships that I cannot imagine. They wanted me to have opportunities they were denied and taught me to work hard, fight for what’s right, serve the community, and to stand up for the underdog. Those values inspire me today.
I am a proud graduate of Tacoma Public Schools and have a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Washington. I went on to earn an MBA from Clark-Atlanta University, a Historically Black College and University.
As Mayor of Tacoma, I helped transform a city and economy crippled by a deep recession into a destination for families, workers, artists, tourists and entrepreneurs. We attracted over $1 billion in investment for housing and businesses, and invested over $500 million in infrastructure for roads, bridges, transportation, and the Port, creating over 40,000 new jobs in the Tacoma region.
I led successful efforts to raise the minimum wage and pass paid sick leave, paving the way for statewide action. Our city-wide Environmental Action Plan set goals to improve our air, water, and health. I launched an award-winning summer jobs program for high school students that led to the Tacoma Tideflats Certification Program, creating a pipeline for students to fill high-demand jobs in the maritime and construction trades. We raised the high school graduation rate in Tacoma from 55% to 89% by making education a civic priority. I was proud to stand with the LGBTQ community in support of Marriage Equality and transgender rights, and pass background checks for gun sales in Tacoma before statewide action.
In Congress, I will bring the experience of rebuilding an economy after an economic recession, and continue to be a strong voice for change to ensure that we can help the most vulnerable members of our community and ensure an economy that works for us all.