Mary LeCocq

Mary LeCocq
Mary LeCocq (Mrs. Irwin) (Republican) represented [the 41st] district of Whatcom County in the House of Representatives from 1952 to 1954.

Born 1895, in Iowa, LeCocq grew up in a deeply religious family. Despite the dominant belief that women didn't need college, LeCocq pursued a higher education. She earned a teaching certificate, settled in the northern Washington town of Lynden, worked for several years as a teacher, then returned to college to earn her B.A.

Interested in politics, she became a Republican precinct volunteer at 23. An impressively hard worker, LeCocq was soon promoted to a position on the county Republican Central Committee. Utilizing organizational skills she had acquired by organizing Red Cross drives and volunteer groups, LeCocq rose through party ranks and became the first chairwoman of the county Republican Central Committee. LeCocq was later persuaded by fellow committee members to run for the Legislature and prevailed over four other Republicans.

During her "unhappy term" in the House she was forced into the chairmanship of the Insurance and Agriculture Committee and became embroiled in intraparty squabbles. At that time legislators were notorious for their boozing in the Capitol and Representative LeCocq railed against the drinking. She recalls that it was her public denunciations that closed the legislative liquor closet: "Committee Room 13." As a result she lost party support and was the target of verbal attacks that left her without the heart to actively campaign for re-election.

LeCocq ... continue[d] her public service through the organization and management of church-related community efforts.

--Political Pioneers, The Women Lawmakers