Unsoeld, Jolene, 1931-

Alternative names
Birth 1931-12-03

Biographical notes:

Jolene Unsoeld was born Jolene Bishoprick 3 December 1931 to Stanley and Cora in Corvallis, OR. She attended Oregon State University, where she met William Unsoeld. They married in 1951 and had four children. The family moved to Katmandu, Nepal in 1962 where she worked as director of an English-language institute until 1967. In 1971 the family relocated to Olympia, WA. During the 1970's she became a community lobbyist, successfully lobbying for initiative 276, a bill which required the disclosure of campaign contributions and created the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. In 1976 her daughter Nanda Nevi died and in 1979 her husband Willi died; both while mountaineering. From 1980 to 1988 she served on the Democratic National Committee. In 1984 she became the state representative for the 22nd district where she specialized in environmental issues. In 1988 she successfully ran for a seat in the One Hundred First Congress as a Democrat. She was reelected for both the One Hundred Second and Third Congresses but was unsuccessful for reelection to the One Hundred and Fourth Congress. She held her seat from 1989 to 1995. While in congress she was assigned to the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee and Education and Labor Committee. After her terms in Congress she has continued her work as an advocate for the environment and open government. She was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1995, served on the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission from 1995 to 1998, and served on the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington from 2000-2003. She also challenged Thurston County's attempt to violate the state growth management act.

From the guide to the Jolene Unsoeld Papers, 1965-2003, (The Evergreen State College Archives and Special Collections)


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  • Television advertising
  • Legislative bodies--Committee
  • Olympia
  • Campaign funds--Washington (State)
  • Civic Activism
  • Legislators--United States
  • Environmental policy--Washington (State)
  • Washington (State)
  • Women--Political activity
  • Legislators--Washington (State)
  • Advertising, political
  • Lobbyists--Washington (State)
  • Legislation--Washington (State)
  • Lobbying--Law and legislation
  • Hazardous waste sites--Washington (State)


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