About Gerry

State Representative Gerry Pollet has worked on behalf of the public interest, standing up for our environment and consumers against powerful special interests, for his entire career. Gerry is a public interest lawyer (UW Law School), who started and directs the region’s largest citizens’ group, Heart of America Northwest, working for the cleanup of the nation’s most contaminated area, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Gerry is also a faculty member in the UW School of Public Health.

Gerry is Vice-Chair of the House Higher Education Committee, and serves on the Education and Finance Committees. He is also deeply involved in public (K-12) education, including serving on the task force addressing the teacher shortage. Gerry is also widely recognized as the leading voice for special education students.

Gerry has been named “Legislator of the Year” for his work to increase affordable access to the opportunities of higher education in Washington (twice by the Washington Student Association and once by the UW Graduate and Professional Student Senate); protect consumers; advocacy for special education students; and, by the League of Women Voters for his work on behalf of open government (Sunshine in Government award).

Even before becoming a State Representative, Gerry successfully wrote and led efforts to pass state laws that promote renewable energy, and protect our environment, communities, whistle-blowers, consumers, ratepayers, children’s and worker’s health.

The Seattle Times called Gerry “an environmental stalwart in the region,” and a “hard working community activist.”

In 2016, the Times endorsement of Gerry called him “a strong advocate for higher education and government transparency.”

“A standout accomplishment for Pollet was his work on a new law passed this year that makes electronic-cigarette and ‘vape’ products less accessible to youths. He hopes to expand this by taxing e-cigarettes and raising the minimum age for their use to 21.”

In his first year in the Legislature, Gerry introduced and championed legislation to end predatory towing fees to prevent people from losing their cars. In his second year, this became law. Gerry’s legislative work focuses on increasing access to higher education; preserving early learning and K-12 school funding; and working to make our tax system FAIRER by eliminating loopholes and instituting a capital gains tax.

Gerry’s work on increasing access to higher education includes serving as one of Washington State’s Commissioners on the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education, appointed by Governor Inslee in January, 2016. Gerry, along with Sen. David Frockt and then Sen. Pramila Jayapal, developed the Washington Promise legislation to make community college free for all qualified high school graduates in Washington

Gerry is the award winning Director of Heart of America Northwest, the region’s leading citizens’ group working for the cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, which is the most contaminated area in the Western Hemisphere. Gerry ran the state ballot initiative to stop the use of Hanford as a national radioactive waste dump.

Gerry is a graduate of the UW School of Law, and serves on the Board of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. Gerry also teaches at the University of Washington in the School of Public Health, and runs a law internship program to train and inspire law students to work for the public good. Gerry received the University of Washington School of Public Health Community Service Award in 2010. He has also been honored as by Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility with their highest annual recognition for work on behalf of peace, justice and the environment.

Gerry and spouse, Janet Miller, are long-time education activists in Seattle. They have worked for expanding full day kindergarten and high school curriculum, many levies, lower class sizes, and expanded state support for education. Gerry has been a leader in the effort to reduce the serious overcrowding in North Seattle’s public schools.

Gerry and Janet have two children. Eileen, a graduate of Western Washington University, is working for progressive candidates and causes in Washington DC. Hank attends Western Washington University, and has recently finished an internship in Washington DC with Rep. Pramila Jayapal.