Eleanor Lee

Eleanor Lee
Eleanor Lee (Republican) represented [the 33rd] district of southwest King County in the State Senate. Elected to the House of Representatives 1974, she was re-elected in 1976 then elected to the Senate in a 1977 special election.

Born 1931, in Elgin, Illinois, Lee and her parents moved to the Spokane area five years later. Her mother was a member of the local school board, and her grandfather was a true Washington pioneer; the mayor of Medical Lake, he owned a general store there and started its fire department. Interested in history and political science, Lee attended Washington State University and later joined the League of Women Voters. Lee's membership in the League of Women Voters so stimulated her interest in public afairs she returned to college to further study political science, and received her B.A. from The Evergreen State College in 1973.

A highly active League official at local, county and state levels, she was approached by a Representative in 1970 who urged her to run for the district's open position. Encouraged by League members in the legislature, she campaigned but did not succeed. In the following years she studied political science at TESC, became more active in the party, developed a base of political support, and used her experience to create the successful 1974 campaign.

When Representative Lee took office things were still surprisingly difficult for women. She says, "We had to prove our abilities to the men. Women are not excused their frailities." Senator Lee ... held majority caucus leadership positions and [wa]s the founder and past chairwoman of Elected Washington Women. She says, "We need to do more to encourage and help women who are interested in public office. We have contributed a great deal to the Legislature and have a great deal more to contribute."

-- Political Pioneers, The Women Lawmakers