Margaret Hurley

Margaret Hurley
Margaret Hurley (Democrat) represented the 3rd Legislative District 1953-1979 in the House of Representatives and 1979-1985 in the State Senate.

In the fifties, when the boys returned from war, public sentiment shifted. The message to women was clear: back to the home. Problems for women serving in the Legislature became more acute. When there were only a few women no one noticed them, but as their numbers grew they could no longer be as easily dismissed. Margaret Hurley, Senator from Spokane remembers what it was like in 1959.

It was discriminatory. I'd have to admit it. Men did not want you in the decision making end of it. We were a new element. What are you going to do with this new element? You're going to keep them down.

But Margaret found ways to get around the obstacles:

I became caucus secretary. Of course the secretarial position is presumed to be a woman's spot. But being up there at the front table, l took that to mean I could speak when I wanted to. It wouldn't look good if they didn't call on me.