Laura was first elected to the State House in 1998, only the third Democrat to ever be elected from the 45th Legislative District. She was the Vice Chair of the Technology, Telecommunications, and Energy Committee, and also served on the Appropriations, Rules, and Health Care Committees. In addition to her committee assignments, Laura served as the Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. In her three terms in the legislature, Laura won Legislator of the Year and other awards from many organizations, and especially for her work on health care and on women’s rights.
In 2000 Laura had the distinguished honor of becoming the first Democrat ever to be re-elected in this swing district. Her proven ability to win the votes of Independents and moderate Republicans will serve her well in a Congressional race.
Prior to her service in the Legislature, Laura worked at Seattle Repertory Theater for a year, and then for almost 5 years at Microsoft, managing software and technology projects.
Laura’s commitment to increasing citizen participation in holding government accountable for results is evident in the work she has done to connect with voters and bring them in to the political process. As a legislator, Laura took pride in personally returning every phone call, email, and letter she received and making every effort to make herself available to voters. In 2002 she was endorsed by the Eastside Journal, who wrote “Laura Ruderman has taken a part-time legislative job and made it a full-time effort to represent her constituents. In the process, she has become a knowledgeable and effective legislator.”
While in the Legislature, Laura was proud to support important issues such as: ending the anti-union practice called “paycheck protection,”, paid sick leave, collective bargaining for State Employees, mental health parity, and performance audits of tax loopholes.
For almost 20 years, Laura was an active leader in Results, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished families through legislative action. Through her leadership, she contributed to the success of federal initiatives to reduce poverty and provide opportunities to children in disenfranchised communities. One of her many accomplishments was the inclusion of business credits for adults leaving welfare for work in Washington state’s welfare reform legislation.
For 10 years, Laura served on the Board of Directors of Washington Community Alliance for Self Help (CASH), a non-profit organization that provides low-income people, mostly women, with collateral-free microloans, business training, and peer support, enabling them to start and expand small self-employment businesses. In the sixteen years since its inception, more than 1,300 businesses have been started or expanded and more than $839,000 in microloans have been lent out.
In addition to her work for CASH, Laura has served on the Board of Directors for several organizations, including the K-20 Educational Network, the Digital Learning Commons, and the King County Library System Foundation.
After leaving the Legislature, Laura returned to the nonprofit sector, raising money for Sound Mental Health and 21 Acres.
Currently, Laura serves as the Co-Chair of the Discovery Community School, one of the Lake Washington School District’s Choice Schools.
Laura lives in Kirkland with her husband and two stepchildren.