Marilyn Strickland, the former mayor of Tacoma, Washington, won her race for the US House of Representatives, becoming the first Korean American woman elected to the US Congress in its 230-year history.
Democrat Strickland won the open seat in Washington’s 10th Congressional District, defeating state Rep. Beth Doglio, who is also a Democrat. They were competing for the seat held by US Rep. Denny Heck, who stepped down to run for the state’s lieutenant governor.
“I am humbled and honored by the trust the people of the South Sound have placed in me to be their voice in the United States Congress. I want to say how grateful I am to all those who have stood alongside me in this journey. From the bottom of my heart: Thank you,” Strickland said in a statement Wednesday in the US after her win.
Strickland added that she is proud to be the first African American elected to Congress from the Pacific Northwest, which includes Washington, Idaho and Oregon, as well as the first Korean American woman to serve in the US Congress.
Strickland, whose Korean name is Sun-ja, was born in Seoul in 1962 to an African American father, a World War II and Korean War veteran, and a Korean mother. The two met while her father was stationed in Korea after the war. Strickland and her family moved to Tacoma in 1967 after her father was dispatched to Fort Lewis. She graduated University of Washington and earned an MBA from Clark Atlanta University.
Previously, she was the first African American and Asian American to serve as mayor of Tacoma, from 2010 to 2018. Most recently, she served as the CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.