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Washington state to swear in first Black senator in 10 years

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 8, 2021

Nobles  (Courtesy photo)
Nobles (Courtesy photo)
Associated Press

Associated Press

TACOMA – Washington state will welcome several first-time lawmakers this year for the legislative session expected to begin Monday, including the state’s first Black senator in 10 years.

T’wina Nobles is scheduled to be sworn in as a state senator on Friday, and is expected to start her new role on Monday, KING-TV reported.

“Being the only current Black member of the state Senate and the first in 10 years, means I have a great responsibility,” Nobles said, noting the Legislature will have to balance the budget with decreased revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nobles unseated Republican incumbent Steve O’Ban. The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission said the competitors combined spent more than $1.7 million on the race, not including independent expenditures.

“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,” Nobles said. “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.”

Nobles was previously the CEO and president of the Tacoma Urban League for more than three years where she helped the community with housing, health care, education and employment.

“I anticipate over the course of my term, I will see lots of protests and demonstrations,” she said, citing a desire for unity. “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.”

The Tacoma Urban League has already launched the search for a new president.

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