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Staff Snapshots | Jen Waldref

June 17, 2021 | State Legislatures News | Print

For its “Staff Snapshots” series, State Legislatures News is asking legislative staff about their role in the legislature. If you’d like to suggest a staffer for this series, please email Holly South at NCSL.

Jen Waldref

Title: Communications Director, Washington House Democrats

Years of legislative service: 11

Hometown: Olympia, Wash.

One thing she loves about her state: The gorgeous, sunny Pacific Northwest summer days when the mountain is out. If you know, you know.


Why did you choose to work at the legislature?

I grew up close to our state capitol in Olympia, and even served twice as a legislative page in high school, so I guess you could say the seed was planted way back then in my youth. It’s an exciting, interesting, and fulfilling place to work. You’re surrounded by people who are passionate about making a difference.

What skill or talent are you most proud of?

Soft skill: Critical thinking. Talent: Parallel parking.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

Lift as you rise.

Who or what inspires you?

I work for the first woman, first lesbian speaker of the House in our state’s history. She’s pretty inspiring! Also, both my grandmothers were strong and compassionate women who never got to see me reach adulthood. Their legacies inspire me to be the best version of myself in both my work and home life.

What are you currently reading/watching?

I just started Maria Hinojosa’s memoir, “Once I Was You.” I’ve always admired her as a journalist, and we graduated from the same college. As women with Latinx heritage who are the daughters of immigrants, our personal stories—while very different—share common themes.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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