Hon. Velma R. Veloria Washington State Representative

Article excerpt

Velma R. Veloria, Democrat, was first elected to her position in 1992 as Washington state Representative from the 11th District, comprising parts of South Seattle, West Seattle, Tukwila, Sea-Tac, and Renton.

She is now serving her fourth term, a fact that not many Filipino Americans are aware of. She ran and won unopposed in the 1994 and 1996 elections. Before this, from 1990 to 1991, she served as Administrative Assistant to State Representative Art Wang.

A long-time union organizer and human rights activist, Veloria is the first and only Filipina (female), born in the Philippines, who has been elected to the Washington State Legislature. She is the first Asian elected and the first Filipina elected in a state legislature in the mainland US.

She is the second Filipina to be elected in a state legislature in the United States, after Thelma Buchholdt who was elected in the Alaska state legislature in 1974.

It is hard enough for anybody, male or female, to be elected in any public office in the United States, but being a woman and a member of the ethnic minority, is doubly significant for her.

Rep. Veloria is an action- and result-oriented legislator working on a range of issues including grandparents raising grandchildren, promoting a healthy environment, affordable housing, and quality education for all students.

As Co-Chair for the Economic Development, Housing, and Trade Committee, she has worked on trade missions providing contacts for small businesses to the international market place. As such, she has had extensive experience in international trade missions.

International trade experiences

In 1993, Rep. Veloria led a Washington State Trade and Investment Mission to the Philppines with a 28-member delegation. Goals accomplished include development of direct business links between small and minority Washington companies and Philippine companies, $1 million in revenue for those businesses, a sister city agreement between Tacoma, WA and Davao, Philippines, and the opening of the Philippine Trade Office in Seattle.

Again in 1994, Rep. Veloria led a trade and investment mission to the Philippines and Indonesia with 21 member delegation. Governor Mike Lowry and Secretary of State Ralph Munro joined the delegation for the Philippines portion of the mission.

As a result, business contacts were established in both countries, trade relationship between Washington, Philippines and Indonesia was strenghtened, and approximately $1 million in revenue for participating businesses, promotion and marketing of various Washington-made products by conducting a mini-trade exhibition.

In 1995, she organized trade missions to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Again, in 1997, she was the leader and organizer of yet another trade mission, this time, to the Philippines, Korea, and China.

Legislative experience

Rep. Veloria's House of Representative Committee assignments include Co-Chair Economic Development, Housing, Trade, Finance, and Rules.

Her previous assignments were Ranking Minority Member, Trade & Economic Development; Assistant Ranking Minority Member, Trade & Economic Development, Vice-Chair State government, Education, Health Care, Labor & Commerce; and Law & Justice. …