After serving the people of the 10th Legislative District in the state Legislature for 16 years, Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, is stepping down from the Senate effective Sept. 30.
The announcement came in a letter to Republican leaders in Island, Skagit and Snohomish counties, who will nominate her successor.
“Senator Bailey has been a tireless public servant, dedicated to improving this state and fighting for the people of her district,” Senate Republican Caucus Chair Randi Becker of Eatonville said in a statement.
“I not only wish that we could keep Senator Bailey; I wish we could clone her. She is the epitome of class and grace, and I have always appreciated her fight for hardworking taxpayers.”
Bailey served five terms in the House of Representatives and is in her second term as 10th District senator. Her list of legislative accomplishments includes work on behalf of veterans, breakthroughs in higher education, a focus on issues related to aging and health care and many years of service on the Legislature’s budget committees, according to a press release.
Her position on the Senate Ways and Means Committee enabled Bailey to close out this year’s legislative session by securing major water infrastructure investments for the Skagit area.
In 2014, Bailey assembled a bipartisan coalition to win passage of the Real Hope Act, which opened the state need grant program to students who otherwise would be ineligible because they were brought into the country illegally by their parents, according to Bailey’s office.
Bailey also was instrumental in the Senate effort in 2013 to first freeze in-state tuition and then enact the historic tuition cut of 2015.
Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler praised Bailey for her leadership.
“Senator Bailey wasn’t afraid to get her boots muddy and jump right into the fight on important, and sometimes difficult issues,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville. “Year after year she worked on one of the least glamorous committees in Olympia — one that safeguarded all state workers’ retirements.”
Bailey was the 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Service to Veterans Award, co-sponsored by the Governor’s Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee (VAAC) and Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, in recognition of individuals who devote time and energy to improving the lives of veterans in the state.
Prior to her work in the Legislature, Bailey served as a member on the Oak Harbor Comprehensive Planning Task Force, Island County 2 Percent Lodging Tax Advisory Committee and the Island County Joint Committee on Tourism.
Bailey has served on the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce executive committee; the Navy League of the United States; the Education Advisory Board of Norfolk State University; the Higher Education Consortium with the Washington State Department of Education; the Washington Tourism Commission; and the Lieutenant Governor’s Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations.
Bailey said she is retiring to spend more time with her family.
She lives in Oak Harbor with her husband, retired Navy captain Butch Bailey, who taught NJROTC in the Burlington-Edison School System.