Frances Swayze

Frances Swayze
Frances Swayze (Republican) represented the 26th Legislative District in the House from 1953 until her resignation on September 29, 1965. First elected in 1952, she served for seven terms.

Following her September, 1965 resignation, her son, Thomas Swayze Jr., was appointed to replace her. He later became Speaker of the House.

Born in 1901 in Iowa, she and her family settled in Tacoma in 1907. Swayze attended Whitman and Grant schools, and graduated from the University of Puget Sound (B.A.).

Swayze and her husband moved to Olympia for four years after he accepted the position of State Director of Licensing. She soon became a fixture in the Legislature's visitor's galleries. "I just lived at the Legislature while we were there," Swayze recalled. With all five of her children grown, she kept herself active with Tacoma women's organizations, clubs and precinct-level political work. When her district's resigning Representative suggested she run for his position, Swayze eagerly accepted the proposal. "I ran and was elected in the fall of 1952, and didn't lose an election after that."

Though Representative Swayze seldome made speeches, she was a powerful force in committee and was often called upon by the Republican Caucus to explain the effects of pending legislation.

--Political Pioneers, The Women Lawmakers