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Julia Butler Hansen (June 14, 1907 – May 3, 1988), born Julia Caroline Butler in Portland, Oregon, served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1960–1974. She represented Washington's Third Congressional District as a Democrat. She was the second woman and first Democratic woman elected to Congress from Washington.

Julia Butler Hansen
Julia Hansen.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 3rd district
In office
November 8, 1960 – December 31, 1974
Preceded byRussell V. Mack
Succeeded byDon Bonker
Member of the Washington House of Representatives
from the 18th district
In office
January 9, 1939 – November 8, 1960
Preceded byJoseph Gardner
Succeeded byArlie DeJarnatt
Personal details
Julia Caroline Butler

(1907-06-14)June 14, 1907
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
DiedMay 3, 1988(1988-05-03) (aged 80)
Cathlamet, Washington, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Henry Hansen
EducationOregon State University
University of Washington, Seattle (BA)

Early life and educationEdit

Her father, Donald C. Butler, was sheriff of Wahkiakum County and her mother, Maude Eliza (Kimball), was named Washington's "Mother of the Year" in 1960. Hansen attended public school in Washington. She attended Oregon State College from 1924–1926, and graduated from the University of Washington (Seattle) with a Bachelor of Arts in home economics in 1930.

Entry to public serviceEdit

Hansen's political career began as a member of the Cathlamet, Washington, city council, where she served from 1938–1946. She served in the Washington State Legislature as a member of the State House of Representatives from January 1939 until November 1960, serving as the first woman speaker pro tempore from 1955–1960. She served as chairman of the Western Interstate Committee on Highway Policies for 11 western states from 1951–1961.

United States CongressEdit

She was elected simultaneously as a Democrat to the Eighty-sixth Congress and to the Eighty-seventh Congress by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of United States Representative Russell V. Mack, and was re-elected to the six succeeding Congresses (November 8, 1960 – December 31, 1974). She served on the House Appropriations Committee after serving for years on Education, Labor, Veteran's Affairs, Interior and Insular Affairs Committees. She did not run for re-election in 1974, and was appointed in 1975 to a six-year term on the Washington State Toll Bridge Authority and State Highway Commission. She served as chairman of the Washington State Transportation Commission from 1979–1981.

Personal lifeEdit

Hansen was the author of a book for children titled Singing Paddles, published by Binfords and Mort in 1935, which won the Julia Ellsworth Ford Foundation Award for Juvenile Literature. She married Henry A. Hansen, a logger, on July 15, 1939; they were parents of one natural son, David, and Henry's adopted son Richard. Hansen was also manager of the Wahkiakum County Abstract Company and the G. Henry Hanigan Insurance Co. in Cathlamet, and served as chairman and member of the board of trustees of Century 21, State of Washington, beginning in 1958.

Death and legacyEdit

Hansen lived in Cathlamet until her death there on May 3, 1988. She is honored by the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-Tailed Deer, a National Wildlife Refuge established in 1972 in Cathlamet; the Julia Butler Hansen Elementary School, opened in 1994 in the Olympia School District in Olympia, Washington; and the Julia Butler Hansen Bridge connecting Cathlamet to Puget Island, Washington.

See alsoEdit


  This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

  • United States Congress. "Julia Butler Hansen (id: H000174)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Further readingEdit


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