Marilyn Strickland

Marilyn Strickland (born September 25, 1962) is a South Korean-born American politician and businesswoman 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.

Marilyn Strickland
Marilyn Strickland 117th U.S Congress.jpg
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 58)
Seoul, South Korea
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Patrick Erwin[1]
EducationUniversity of Washington (BA)
Clark Atlanta University (MBA)
WebsiteHouse website
Korean name
Revised RomanizationSun-ja

A member of the Democratic Party, she began her first term on January 3, 2021. Strickland served as the 38th Mayor of Tacoma from 2010 to 2018. She is the first member of the United States Congress who is 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 ever elected to Congress, beginning her term on the same day as California Republicans Young Kim and Michelle Steel.[3]

Early life and educationEdit

Strickland was born on September 25, 1962 in Seoul, South Korea, the daughter of Inmin Kim, a Korean mother and African-American father, Willie Strickland.[1][4] Strickland and her family moved to Tacoma, Washington in 1967 after her father was stationed at Fort Lewis. She was raised in the South End neighborhood of Tacoma 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 opportunity 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. Strickland 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. Strickland used connections in China and Vietnam to draw foreign investors, culminating in the visit to Tacoma of Chinese President Xi Jinping.[9]

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

Following the end of her mayoral term, Strickland was approached by the pro-business Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to serve as the organization's president. During her tenure as president of the chamber of commerce, Strickland opposed the Seattle head tax.[11][12]

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

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit



Strickland left the Chamber early in 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] Strickland was endorsed by several politicians and newspapers.[19] In the August 4 jungle primary, Strickland placed first in a field of 19 candidates. Strickland and the second-place finisher, Democratic State Rep. Beth Doglio, both advanced to the November general election.[20][21][22]

In the November general election, Strickland handily defeated Doglio to become representative-elect. She will assume 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]


Committee assignmentsEdit

Caucus membershipsEdit

See alsoEdit


  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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Marilyn Strickland's Black, Korean American roots are 1st for Congress". NBC News.
  4. ^ Ebersole, Brian (December 27, 2017). "From 'scary-bright' pupil to world-class mayor". The News Tribune.
  5. ^ "Marilyn Strickland". 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. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  8. ^ "Chronology of Tacoma Mayors" (PDF).
  9. ^ Plog, Kari. "Marilyn Strickland, Seattle chamber CEO and former Tacoma mayor, to run for Congress". 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". 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. ^ board, The Seattle Times editorial (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. 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". TheHill. 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. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  26. ^ a b c d Kassel, Matthew (January 6, 2021). "Marilyn Strickland has a city hall handbook for Congress". Jewish Insider.
  27. ^ "New Democrat Coalition Elects New Leadership Team and Inducts Five Members-Elect". December 1, 2020.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Baarsma
Mayor of Tacoma
Succeeded by
Victoria Woodards
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Denny Heck
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 10th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Michelle Steel
United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Ritchie Torres