Ruth Kagi, who was first elected in 1998, represented the 32nd Legislative District in Washington State which includes Shoreline, Lynnwood, and parts of Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Seattle. She was a pioneer in educating the legislature and the public about the critical importance of early childhood development.
Ruth chaired the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee from 2002-2018. She sponsored the Early Start Act, which created quality standards for child care and pre-school and funded robust supports for providers to improve quality. She was the primary architect of the state Department of Children, Youth, and Families which merged early learning, child welfare and juvenile justice administrations, enabling the state to focus on integrated strategies to improve outcomes for children, youth, and families.
“Ruth is the conscience of our caucus when it comes to children and families,” House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, said when Ruth announced her retirement after 20 years of service. “With her leadership, the Legislature changed the way the state views early learning challenges, transforming the way we address these issues from separate components to a holistic approach.” Ruth retired on January 14, 2019.