West Seattle’s Sen. Joe McDermott to receive Jewish Federation award

June 25, 2009 1:08 pm
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Announced today by the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle:

Sen. McDermott, Rep. Pedersen to Receive the Tikkun Olam Legislative Tribute from
the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle

SEATTLE – On June 25, Senator Joe McDermott and Representative Jamie Pedersen will
be receiving the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle’s 2009 Tikkun Olam Legislative
Tribute at our annual meeting.

This award recognizes legislators who embody the concept of tikkun olam, “repairing
the world.” This year, we are recognizing these two legislators for their work to
expand civil rights in Washington State by shaping and passing two pieces of
legislation: comprehensive hate crimes legislation and expansion of legal
protections for gay and lesbian couples.

“The Jewish community is proud to have Senator McDermott and Representative Pedersen
as partners in the important work of promoting equal rights for all,” commented Ron
Leibsohn, Chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.

Senator Joe McDermott entered the Washington House of Representatives in 2001.
Along with then Rep. Ed Murray, he has worked year after year to pass legislation
protecting gay and lesbian people from discrimination. The legislation passed both
chambers and was signed by Governor Gregoire in 2006. During his time in the House
and now as a Senator, McDermott has worked to expand voting rights, protect
Holocaust education and expand Washington’s malicious harassment, or hate crimes,

Representative Jamie Pedersen came to the Washington State House of Representatives
in 2007 after winning a competitive 43rd district primary. In the legislature,
Pedersen has pushed for the rights of same sex couples and the civil rights of
everyone regardless of their skin color, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual

In 2007, because of Pedersen’s leadership, Washington passed a domestic partnership
statute which was expanded each session after that, and as of this session includes
hundreds of rights for same sex couples. Pedersen also helped pass legislation that
will allow a Jewish hospice to open in Washington State. This session, Pedersen also
helped guide a critical piece of legislation out of the Judiciary Committee
prohibiting people who have been involuntarily committed from buying a gun. Because
of the Jewish Federation’s experience with gun violence, we are very grateful for
his work on this issue.

Past recipients of this award include Reps. Eric Pettigrew, Sharon Tomiko Santos and
Sherry Appleton, Secretary of State Sam Reed and Sen. Jeanne Kohl Welles.

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