Husky 100

August 31, 2020

Where are they Now: Samantha Bailey

I currently serve as the Legislative Assistant to State Representative, Mia Gregerson, of the 33rd Legislative District (South King County) since January 2020. The main reason I was attracted to working with Rep. Gregerson was her dedication to equity and social justice. She shoulders the struggles, pain, anger, and hope of those who have been marginalized and disenfranchised from our society. Rep. Gregerson, with a diversity of stakeholders and individuals, led a bill that established the nation’s very first statewide Office of Equity. The Office is in charge of providing an equity lens to agency work while also focusing on accountability. When we see the inequities in housing, food, employment, digital access, etc. being exacerbated by a pandemic, we know at the very least that we need an Office of Equity. These issues are systemic. I’m unsure if it is my identity, my life story and personal experiences, my traveling, or my degree in public health—or a combination of them all—that makes this work, being inclusive and socially just, so central to what I do. But, in order to do this work, I do know that one must be deliberate, intentional, persistent, and compassion – and most importantly have a ton of humbleness.

In the Fall of 2019, I was an intern in Senator Murray’s DC office. It was an especially contentious time because of the impeachment of the President. The two big responsibilities I was tasked with as an intern was to answer the phones and give tours. There was a huge dichotomy between how I was treated by constituents on the phones, who dealt with me as if I wasn’t even a person, and how I was treated by constituents to whom I was giving a tour of the Capitol, who were so thoughtful and appreciative. It taught me a lot about diligence and optimism. At both the federal and state level, politics is full of power dynamics, elitism and titles, and politicking. But it’s those rare lawmakers who do not center the issues around themselves, who are about the people and the policies, and who are live their purpose which gives me hope to live mine – politicians like Senator Murray and Representative Gregerson. I’ve lucked out having the great honor of working with them.

Leadership looks a little different and means something different to everyone. My hope is that, as time continues on, leadership becomes more and more inclusive – that it brings people in instead of leaving them out.

Being from a small farming town in Eastern Washington, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would be recognized as a Husky 100. It was the highlight of my educational career at UW. I spent so much time in college searching, wondering, unlearning/relearning. So, the Husky 100 application process provided me a platform to distill and reflect on four full years of experiences and to extend those learnings past my college years. Today, I am still living the purpose I had set for myself two years ago in my Husky 100 reflection paper. I hope this gives others the opportunity to do that as well.