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McDermott, Pedersen receive Tikkun Olam Legislative Tribute
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McDermott, Pedersen receive Tikkun Olam Legislative Tribute

On June 25, Senator Joe McDermott and Representative Jamie Pedersen will be receiving the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle's 2009 Tikkun Olam Legislative Tribute at our annual meeting.

This award recognizes legislators who embody the concept of tikkun olam, "repairing the world." This year, we are recognizing these two legislators for their work to expand civil rights in Washington State by shaping and passing two pieces of legislation: comprehensive hate crimes legislation and expansion of legal protections for Gay and Lesbian couples.

"The Jewish community is proud to have Senator McDermott and Representative Pedersen as partners in the important work of promoting equal rights for all," commented Ron Leibsohn, Chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.

Senator Joe McDermott entered the Washington House of Representatives in 2001. Along with then-Rep. Ed Murray, he has worked year after year to pass legislation protecting Gay and Lesbian people from discrimination. The legislation passed both chambers and was signed by Governor Gregoire in 2006. During his time in the House and now as a Senator, McDermott has worked to expand voting rights, protect Holocaust education and expand Washington's malicious harassment, or hate crimes, statute.

Representative Jamie Pedersen came to the Washington State House of Representatives in 2007 after winning a competitive 43rd district primary. In the legislature, Pedersen has pushed for the rights of same sex couples and the civil rights of everyone regardless of their skin color, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

In 2007, because of Pedersen's leadership, Washington passed a domestic partnership statute which was expanded each session after that, and as of this session includes hundreds of rights for same-sex couples. Pedersen also helped pass legislation that will allow a Jewish hospice to open in Washington State. This session, Pedersen also helped guide a critical piece of legislation out of the Judiciary Committee prohibiting people who have been involuntarily committed from buying a gun. Because of the Jewish Federation's experience with gun violence, we are very grateful for his work on this issue.

Past recipients of this award include Reps. Eric Pettigrew, Sharon Tomiko Santos and Sherry Appleton, Secretary of State Sam Reed and Sen. Jeanne Kohl Welles.

Courtesy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, which raises and distributes over $10 million from local donors and our endowment each year, to ensure a vibrant Jewish community locally, in Israel and worldwide.

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