OLYMPIA – Sen. Sam Hunt (D-Olympia) announced Tuesday he will retire after his term ends in January 2025. He has served as a state senator since 2017 and before that served as a state representative in the House from 2001-2016.  

During Hunt’s tenure as chair of the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee and as chair of the Senate State Government and Elections Committee, Washington passed landmark election legislation. Universal vote-by-mail, the Washington Voting Rights Act, the Native American Voting Rights Act, online and election day voter registration, paid return postage for mailed ballots, secure state-funded ballot drop boxes were all reforms brought about on Hunt’s watch. He also sponsored and passed legislation to modernize Washington’s elections, switching our state from a caucus to primary system for electing presidents. 

“I am particularly proud that under my guidance, we have the most secure, accurate, and accessible election system in the country,” Hunt said. “Washington is a model for other states to follow.” 

Hunt’s career began in Olympia in 1980 when he worked as a staffer in the Senate. He later worked for Gov. Booth Gardner and the Department of Information Services (now part of the Department of Enterprise Services) before being elected to the House of Representatives.  

Hunt has been involved in advocating for civil rights measures, including the state’s landmark marriage equality law. As a union member and state employee, he worked to pass collective bargaining for state employees.  

During his legislative tenure he served on the House Appropriations, Natural Resources, Rules, Labor, and K-12 Education committees and Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education and Ways & Means committees. 

During Hunt’s time in office, the state has seen increases in funding for education from preschool through higher education, including the Elson Floyd School of Medicine at Washington State University. Other major improvements have come to the state’s transportation system, including the second Tacoma Narrows Bridge, a wider Interstate 5 between Olympia and Seattle and improvements to I-90 across Snoqualmie Pass. 

“The time has come to let somebody else face the challenge of being a state senator,” Hunt said. “I would like to thank the many legislators with whom I have served, as well as the bright and dedicated staff who enable the Legislature to do its work. Without civility among members working together and the excellent staff, Washington would not be in the great shape we find it today.” 

Sen. Hunt let his colleagues know about his decision to retire in a letter Tuesday. You can read that here.