Marilyn Strickland
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 10th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
Preceded byDenny Heck
38th Mayor of Tacoma
In office
January 5, 2010 – January 2, 2018
Preceded byBill Baarsma
Succeeded byVictoria Woodards
Personal details
Born (1962-09-25) September 25, 1962 (age 61)
Seoul, South Korea
Political partyDemocratic
SpousePatrick Erwin[1]
EducationUniversity of Washington (BA)
Clark Atlanta University (MBA)
WebsiteHouse website
Marilyn Strickland
Revised RomanizationSunja

Marilyn Strickland (born September 25, 1962) is an American politician who is the U.S. representative from Washington's 10th congressional district. The district is based in the state capital of Olympia, and also includes much of eastern Tacoma.

A member of the Democratic Party, Strickland took office on January 3, 2021. She served as the 38th mayor of Tacoma from 2010 to 2018. She is the first member of the United States Congress of both Korean and African-American heritage, and the first African-American member elected from Washington. Strickland is also one of the first three Korean-American women elected to Congress, beginning her term on the same day as Republicans Young Kim and Michelle Steel.[3]

Early life and education

Strickland was born on September 25, 1962, in Seoul, South Korea, the daughter of Inmin Kim, a Korean, and Willie Strickland, an African-American serviceman.[1][4] She and her family moved to Tacoma, Washington, in 1967 after her father was stationed at Fort Lewis. She was raised in Tacoma's South End neighborhood and attended Mount Tahoma High School.[1] Strickland earned a degree in business from the University of Washington and an MBA from Clark Atlanta University.[5]


After graduating from the University of Washington, Strickland took a job at Northern Life Insurance doing clerical work. At a luncheon, she was introduced to Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, who suggested that she further her education.

After earning a Master of Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University, Strickland joined Starbucks as a manager of its online business. She then moved on to help launch the City of Tacoma’s public broadband cable service Click!, working with an advertisement agency to help grow public support.[6]

After years in the private sector, Strickland was elected to the Tacoma City Council. She served as a council member for two years before being selected to serve as mayor from 2010 to 2018.[7][8]

Strickland was the first Asian-born elected mayor of Tacoma, as well as the first African-American woman in that office. She used connections in China and Vietnam to draw foreign investors, culminating in Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Tacoma.[9]

In May 2010, the Tacoma Board of Ethics sanctioned Strickland for accepting frequent flyer miles from a local businessman for an official trip to Asia. She accepted the sanction and returned the value of the frequent flyer miles to the businessman.[10]

After her mayoralty, Strickland was approached by the pro-business Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to serve as its president. During her tenure as president of the chamber of commerce, she opposed the Seattle head tax.[11][12]

Strickland has been described as a political moderate or centrist.[13][14][15]

U.S. House of Representatives



See also: 2020 United States House of Representatives elections in Washington § District 10

Strickland left the Chamber in early 2020, declaring her candidacy for Washington's 10th congressional district in the 2020 election, a seat being vacated by incumbent Denny Heck.[16][17][18] She was endorsed by several politicians and newspapers.[19] In the August 4 jungle primary, Strickland placed first in a field of 19 candidates. She and the second-place finisher, Democratic State Representative Beth Doglio, advanced to the November general election.[20][21][22]

In the November general election, Strickland defeated Doglio. She assumed office on January 3, 2021.[23] As a member of the 117th United States Congress, Strickland is the Pacific Northwest's first Black U.S. Representative and one of the first three Korean-American Congresswomen, along with Michelle Steel and Young Kim, who began their terms on the same day.[24] She wore a traditional hanbok to her swearing-in ceremony to honor her mother.[25]


Strickland voted with President Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time in the 117th Congress, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.[3]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Strickland is a Protestant.[29]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Baarsma, Bill (September 2, 2018). "Marilyn Strickland (1962- ) •". Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  2. ^ 文대통령 “영옥·은주·순자 한국계 4명, 미국하원 입성 축하”. Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). November 17, 2020. Archived from the original on January 4, 2021. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Marilyn Strickland's Black, Korean American roots are 1st for Congress". NBC News. November 6, 2020.
  4. ^ Ebersole, Brian (December 27, 2017). "From 'scary-bright' pupil to world-class mayor". The News Tribune.
  5. ^ "Marilyn Strickland". Up for Growth. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  6. ^ "Working Geek: Former Mayor Marilyn Strickland is Seattle Metro Chamber's uniter in chief". GeekWire. February 8, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  7. ^ "Marilyn Strickland". The Rose Center. December 17, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  8. ^ "Chronology of Tacoma Mayors" (PDF).
  9. ^ Plog, Kari (December 19, 2019). "Marilyn Strickland, Seattle chamber CEO and former Tacoma mayor, to run for Congress". KNKX. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  10. ^ "Tacoma Board of Ethics says mayor violated code"
  11. ^ Pagano, Jason (October 24, 2018). "Cost of doing business? Seattle considers employee head tax". KUOW. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  12. ^ "Chamber CEO: Head tax will push Seattle businesses out". March 28, 2018. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  13. ^ "Progressive Voters Guide". Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  14. ^ We endorse: Tacoma’s Strickland would work hard for Washington Congressional Dist. 10
  15. ^ Seattle Times Editorial Board (July 12, 2020). "The Times recommends: Marilyn Strickland for the 10th Congressional District". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  16. ^ "Marilyn Strickland, Seattle Chamber CEO and ex-Tacoma mayor, running for Congress". The Seattle Times. December 19, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  17. ^ "Seattle Metropolitan Chamber CEO Marilyn Strickland is Stepping Down to Run for Congress". Seattle Business Magazine. December 19, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  18. ^ "There hasn't been a Korean American in Congress since 1999. Come November, there could be 4". NBC News. August 28, 2018. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  19. ^ "Endorsements". Marilyn Strickland For Congress. May 20, 2020. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  20. ^ "Alert: Former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland advances in 10th Congressional District primary". Times Union. August 6, 2020. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  21. ^ "Former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland advances in 10th Congressional District primary". AP News. August 6, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  22. ^ Nam, Rafael (August 6, 2020). "Marilyn Strickland advances from Washington primary to replace Rep. Denny Heck". The Hill. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  23. ^ Kiggins, Steve (November 4, 2020). "Strickland beats Doglio for 10th Congressional District". Q13 FOX. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  24. ^ Black, Tony (November 4, 2020). "Marilyn Strickland's Black and Korean-American roots mark historic firsts for U.S. Congress". KING 5 News. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  25. ^ "Congresswoman wears hanbok at swearing-in ceremony, honors Korean immigrant mom". NBC News. January 5, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  26. ^ "Committees and Caucuses". Congreswoman Marilyn Strickland. January 3, 2021.
  27. ^ a b c Kassel, Matthew (January 6, 2021). "Marilyn Strickland has a city hall handbook for Congress". Jewish Insider.
  28. ^ "New Democrat Coalition Elects New Leadership Team and Inducts Five Members-Elect". December 1, 2020.
  29. ^ "Religious affiliation of members of 117th Congress" (PDF). Pew Research Center. January 4, 2021. p. 11.
Political offices Preceded byBill Baarsma Mayor of Tacoma 2010–2018 Succeeded byVictoria Woodards U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byDenny Heck Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom Washington's 10th congressional district 2021–present Incumbent U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial) Preceded byMichelle Steel United States representatives by seniority 341st Succeeded byRitchie Torres