Franklin, 83, a Democrat and retired nurse from Tacoma, has the largely ceremonial post of Senate president pro tempore, and presides when Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is away.
The decision was made at a “family meeting,” she said. She said she would miss the legislative debates, but she’s leaving satisfied that her time in the Legislature made a difference.
Now I am saying “operator let me off this ride – it is someone else’s turn.” Everyone should try it once!
Franklin represents the 29th District, including Tacoma’s South End and parts of Lakewood and University Place and unincorporated Pierce County.
The urban district is solidly Democratic, so her departure is unlikely to affect the partisan balance in the Senate. It hasn’t elected a Republican since the Great Depression.
Franklin was elected to the House in 1990 and appointed to her Senate seat in 1993 after the death of A.L. “Slim” Rasmussen. She has won-re-election four times since then.
Franklin said in an interview she would return to being a community organizer, trying to school young people in civics and get community groups involved in their government.
Here’s the full e-mail:
Hello Colleagues and Staff,
A recent family meeting the decision has been made that it’s time for me to move on. Twenty years has been a roller coaster ride, had its high points and low points, beautiful scenery and mud puddles. All said and done it was worth it all. Now I am saying “operator let me off this ride – it is someone else’s turn”. Everyone should try it once!
It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve the people of the 29th District and the State of Washington. I do believe that my time was well spent and my being in the legislature made a difference. In fact, that is what supporters, constituents, family and friends tell me. Thanks to each one of you for contributing to a productive and exhilarating ride.
It is difficult to say that I am retiring from the Senate; therefore I’ll just say that I am not seeking re-election. I will miss the fast pace of legislative sessions and the debate on public policy. I plan to continue working to make our communities, state and nation live up to the principles on which they were founded and that the constitution represents all of us and not a select few. Remember always to be brave and take risks. That is the only way change is made.
Again, thanks, it has been a pleasure to serve.
Senator Rosa Franklin
UPDATED TO ADD FRANKLIN’S AGE AND FUTURE PLANS.