Woman of the Week: Jaime Herrera Beutler

Natalie Pate

Women make up 51% of the population, 17% of Congress, and 0% of past presidents.


Name: Jaime Herrera Beutler

Born: November 3, 1978 (age 34) in Glendale, California

Current Office: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington’s 3rd District

Political Party: Republican Party

Residence: Camas, Washington

Education: Bachelor of Arts (Communications), University of Washington


Why she is the Woman of the Week: Beutler is a junior Member in more than one sense of the word. At 34, she is, and will continue to be, the youngest woman serving in Congress. Last month, she won reelection in her Southwest Washington State district with almost 60 percent of the vote. Her rise in American political life has certainly been meteoric. She was an intern State Senator Joe Zirelli’s office just eight years ago, only six years before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in 2010. And it looks like this meteoric rise will only continue. Just last week she announced that she had been nominated to serve on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which has jurisdiction over all federal discretionary spending—in other words, a most coveted position, and an unusual appointment for such a young Congressperson. She has been applauded for criticizing both Republicans and Democrats, saying Republicans in Congress overstepped in 2006 when they put their own political futures above the interests of the American people, and that Democrats are spending the nation into oblivion.

Background: “My parents taught me God first, family second and service to community a close third,” Jaime Herrera wrote in a letter to precinct committee officers when she was seeking appointment to the 18th Legislative District seat. Herrera grew up in a solidly middle class family, and her parents were very active in their church. They adopted Herrera’s uncle’s children to keep them away from drugs and gangs in Southern California. They became involved in gang precention through their church in 2006. Herrera was homeschooled through the ninth grade, graduated from Prarie High School and got a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. She then interned in a state senator’s office before she won an internship in the White House. She stayed in D.C. to work for Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers until she abruptly quit her job in 2007 and moved in with her family to win appointment to a vacancy in the 18th Legislative District in Washington. She never looked back, winning reelection in 2008 before running for the House in 2010 and 2012 and outraising all of her opponents in both races.

Key Issues: Beutler said she decided she was a Republican after she left home and “reflected on her family’s values.” She opposes abortion rights and extending legal partnerships to same-sex couples. However, she does recognize the benefits of drug treatment for addicts, citing her cousins’ experiences. She is the vice chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, as well as serving on the Committees on Small Business and Transportation and Infrastructure. Her very first bill, the “Savings Start with Us” Act, would cut the salaries of Members of Congress, the President and the Vice President by 10%. She also co-sponsored a constitutional amendment that would require the federal government to balance its budget every year, as well as a bill to prevent congressional insider trading. With her new position in Appropriations, she hopes to “save taxpayer dollars wherever possible.”

Her Latest Headline:“Herrera Beutler won’t back national park study for volcano” – The Columbian

“Honey” (to her husband), “no offense but the entire Capitol is a man cave.”


[Image Credit: http://www.chronline.com/news/article_4c5437ea-2507-11e2-a2aa-001a4bcf887a.html?mode=image]