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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Presidents’ Day Trivia

Although Wednesday is technically (although not actually*) Washington's Birthday, today is President's Day.

It's a day we give a holiday to most government workers, banks, some parking meters and mail delivery. Congress gets the day off, despite the Separation of Powers.

The Washington Legislature does not take Presidents Day off. It has a full day of hearings on the schedule, and several groups are taking advantage of the three-day weekend to mount protests in and around the Capitol.

But the juxtaposition of a day on for the Legislature and a day off for much of the country for President's Day brings up this trivia question, courtesy of the National Conference of State Legislatures:

How many presidents were former legislators?

Answer to question, and explanation of the *, inside the blog.

Half of the presidents -- 22 of 44 -- served in a legislature at some point in their political career.

Among the Founding Fathers, such service was almost universal.

The first six -- George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Quincy Adams all served in a colonial or state legislature -- and most of the presidents through Lincoln had similar lines on their resumes.

Since World War II,  however, only two presidents served in the Legislature. Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.

As for the asterisk, your calendar might say Feb. 22 is Washington's Birthday, Washington's parents calendar (assuming that they had one on the plantation) said Feb. 11. That's because Washington was born when England was using the Julian calendar. About 20 years later, the British switched to the Gregoirian calendar, and moved everything up one year and 11 days.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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