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Melanie Stambaugh

State Representative, Washington

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Melanie Stambaugh may be young -- at just 24, she is the youngest legislator in the Washington House and the youngest woman elected to the body since 1936. But she sees her age as an advantage. “So often you see politicians bogged down by government work,” she says, “but I feel energized.” 

Born and raised in Puyallup, which she currently represents in the legislature, Stambaugh says that as a young girl she had a penchant for introducing herself everywhere she went. “Little did I know that it would serve me well on the campaign trail.” Puyallup is located just 10 miles outside Tacoma and about 30 miles south of Seattle. 

Elected in 2014, Stambaugh is passionate about both education and children, saying she’s particularly proud to have worked on a bill that closed a loophole in child privacy laws. She also helped craft a technical career initiative. “I want to expose students at a young age to the different options that they have,” she says. “College isn’t always the right path for everyone.”

One year into her legislative career, she’s eager to see where it takes her next. “I had no idea I’d be doing this two years ago, so it’s so hard to think what the next few years will hold,” she says. “I do know that I want to really make an impact.”

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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