Rep. Sherry Appleton announced Monday she will retire from the Washington State Legislature at the end of her current term.
“Being allowed to work for the people of Kitsap and the entire state for so long has been the greatest honor and privilege of my life,” said Appleton, a Poulsbo Democrat and 23rd District lawmaker.
“I will certainly miss working with my fellow 23rd District legislators, Rep. Drew Hansen and Sen. Christine Rolfes, and the friendships I have made with other lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and both chambers,” Appleton added. “But that seat in Olympia doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to all of us here in the 23rd District, and it’s time we sent someone else to sit in it for a while.”
When her current term ends, Appleton will have served in the House for 16 years, capping 25 years of public service that also included two terms on the Poulsbo City Council.
During her decade and a half in the Legislature, Appleton has been a leading voice for veterans and active-duty military personnel and their families, and has worked on other policy issues ranging from criminal justice and animal welfare to education and transportation, especially the ferry system.
Appleton was elected by her fellow Democrats to chair two House committees – Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs, and later Local Government – and has accumulated a portfolio of other appointments. She is currently chairwoman of the Council of State Governments’ Public Safety Committee, and is a member of the Washington Council on Aging and the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct.
Asked about her favorite memories from her time in the House, Appleton said: “So many, it’s hard to choose.”
“Helping to draft and pass the Patients’ Bill of Rights, restoring funding for family planning clinics, creating the Silver Alert … but I think I’d have to say I’m proudest of having been named Legislator of the Year by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and Humane Legislator of the Year by the Washington State Humane Society.”
Appleton is a former member of the Sentencing Guidelines Commission and chaired the Commission’s Juvenile Sentencing Committee. She was appointed by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to serve as an advisor to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and is a former board member of the Association of Washington Cities and the Northwest Women’s Law Center.
Officials said Appleton will remain a member of the House until her successor is sworn into office on Jan. 11, 2021.
The 23rd Legislative District includes Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Kingston, Silverdale, Winslow and East Bremerton.