While debating which rules the Washington state Senate will operate under, Senate Minority Leader Ed Murray used some interesting statistics to demonstrate that the 49 members might not be a demographic match for the rest of the state.
Based on the financial reports lawmakers must file with the Public Disclosure Commission, Murray noted that 94 percent of the senators have household incomes above the state median income of $58,890.
Some 35 percent of senators are over the age of 65. Statewide, the number is 13 percent.
While half the state is female, just 33 percent of the Senate members are female.
Only 6 percent of the Senate members are non-white (including people of Hispanic origin) while 30 percent of the state is non-white. In fact, there are no black members, no Hispanic members.
Among Senate members, 91 percent have bachelors degrees or higher. Of Washingtonians age 25 and older, just 31 percent have such degrees.
No senators live below the poverty level. Statewide, the poverty number is 13 percent.
Finally, the median value of the homes owned by members of the Senate is $332,700. The median value of all homes in Washington is $224,180.
Murray said he used the comparison to make the point that the rules they were debating don’t just impact the Senate but also the residents of the state.
“We should take a moment and remind ourselves who are the people of the state and who are we,” the Seattle Democrat said.