By Edie Jeffers
TACOMA, WA – The National Association of Local Boards of Health named Rep. Laurie Jinkins as one of its two legislators of the year at an award ceremony in Salt Lake City Wednesday night, August 14.
The national public health organization recognizes elected officials showing outstanding leadership in promoting public health and in championing public health policy for this prestigious award.
Jinkins, who represents the 27th legislative district, is also the part-time director of organizational initiatives for Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. She has served as the health department’s deputy director and as an assistant secretary at the state Department of Health.
In his nomination letter, Peter Browning, Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials’ president and director of the Skagit County Health Department wrote, “Representative Jinkins truly sets the standards of what a great citizen legislator should be,” he stated. “Washington State’s local public health system is extremely fortunate to have a legislator of this caliber, who also happens to have a public health background, serving in the Washington State Legislature.
In her nomination, Rep. Eileen Cody, of the 34th legislative district, called Jinkins “a fearless advocate with a passion for community health and social justice.”
Working from a systems-oriented approach to population?based intervention and primary prevention strategies, Jinkins has sponsored numerous bills that advance public health concerns. These include clean air, healthy food procurement, community benefit, transportation and health, firearm safety, and prescription drug monitoring legislation.
“Rep. Jinkins skillfully works across the aisle to convene stakeholders on issues—such as education, transportation, safety, and health care—that deeply impacts all Washington residents,” wrote Director Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, in his nomination. “She effectively communicates the importance of these issues and the abstract concept of public health.”
Jinkins earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law, then the University of Puget Sound School of Law. Jinkins also completed executive studies at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Her legislative priorities include improving our schools and health care system, helping working families and transforming Washington’s revenue structure.