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After Escaping Domestic Violence, This Woman Became an Award-Winning Public Official

Councilmember, King County, Wash.

1811_Kathy Lambert 11a
Kathy Lambert’s role model was always her father. A longtime captain in the San Francisco police department, he inspired his daughter to pursue public service -- first as a Washington state representative and now, since 2002, as a member of the King County Council. After surviving domestic violence at the hands of her ex-husband -- severe abuse that nearly killed her -- Lambert became a champion for fellow survivors. She has worked with the youth program Safe Place and was named Outstanding Public Official of the Year by the United Way of King County in 2013. A former teacher, published poet and children’s book author, she is now tackling issues ranging from waste energy to creating a new Department of Local Services.

Lambert brings a unique perspective to all of this work, having served at the state and local level. “The state level is more policy and hypothetical,” she says, whereas now at the local level constituents come up to her at the grocery store to talk about potholes. She adds that the key to success is for state leaders to “keep in close touch with their local leaders, so the policies actually work on the ground.”

Read about the Women in Government program and the rest of the honorees.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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