Emma Taylor Harman

Emma Taylor Harman
Emma Taylor Harman (Democrat) represented [the 31st] district of King County in the House of Representatives for two terms, from 1940 to 1944.

Born 1912, in Napavine, Washington, Harman's parents encouraged their children to participate in government and political issues. Though she planned to attend college and become a teacher, it was too difficult for her to pay tuition during the Depression. Instead, she devoted herself to community improvement projects and did an extensive amount of volunteer work in South King County. Harman joined the Washington Commonwealth Federation (a progressive Labor organization), and spoke to groups about the need for pension system reform. She was a member of the Renton Community Club, and advocated an enlarged telephone system, better roads, and improved utility service for the area.

It was her wish to effectively promote " ... issues like Industrial Insurance, Disability Assistance, and other real human needs." Following that desire to its logical conclusion, she decided to run for the Legislature. With the support of her volunteer organizations but not the party -- she campaigned for office. To her surprise, she won.

In the Legislature she fought for public power, tax reform, equal education funding, farm price stabilization, pension plans, and aid to widows and their dependents. In 1945, pregnant with her first child, she chose not to seek a third term.

--Political Pioneers, The Women Lawmakers