MyNorthwest.com: A 24-year-old Republican and former Daffodil Queen surprised the Democratic Party this past election when she defeated five-term Democratic incumbent Dawn Morrell in the 25th District.
“We didn’t see this coming,” Pierce County Democratic chair Jeannine Mitchell told Seattle Weekly’s Ellis Conklin, regarding the victory. “This really blew me away. We are all just flabbergasted.”
According to The Weekly, the victory makes 24-year-old Melanie Stambaugh the youngest woman elected to the Washington State Legislature since 1936.
In an appearance on KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show, Stambaugh told Monson being young may have been part of the reason people weren’t prepared for her. “I think being young and being female is something that lent to me being underestimated and I’m very happy to get to flabbergast people.”
The flabbergasted, however, weren’t shy about voicing their disapproval. “I don’t believe being a Daffodil Queen qualifies you to pass laws and work for your constituents in Olympia,” Democratic chair Mitchell told The Weekly.
But Stambaugh told Monson this is something she’s been preparing for since middle school, and the public knows that’s not all there is to her. “I’ve received great comments from people in the community and really across the state that have read this article just saying, ‘We know who you are and you’re much more than a Daffodil Queen,'” said Stambaugh. “Yes that was one piece of my history and legacy here in the community, but there’s so many other layers and things that I’ll bring down to Olympia.”
The 24-year-old old even owns her own business, You Impression, which is a company that helps people build confidence, providing leadership training, anti-bullying workshops for kids, and professional development.
Stambaugh said her own confidence skills came in handy during the election. She said her strategy was really to focus on people and not focus on politics.
“So I took to the doorsteps. I hit over 17,000 doors and focused on getting to know the families, getting to know the business owners, the educators,” said Stambaugh. “I knew that if I was to win the seat, I wanted to be a conduit for the people of the 25th District to have their voice heard in the legislature. So every person I met, I made sure I had a personal connection with them,” said Stambaugh. “I think by the time the election day rolled around we really saw the rewards of that personal connection with people.”
Stambaugh is excited for the opportunity to go to Olympia and said she’s confident that her age is not going to hinder her ability to make an impact. She thinks it will actually be a good thing for the legislature.
“I think it’s important that we have a variety of perspectives down in the legislature and really young voices are not represented.”
FYI Jeannie Mitchell, more about the beauty queen who will help pass laws and work for the constituents:
“I am a confidence coach,” she announces. With her mother and sister, Stambaugh two years ago opened a business, You Impression, which, among a range of personal-development services, leads group workshops to teach kids manners, respect, and leadership skills. “Recently we taught etiquette lessons to some seventh and ninth graders who were on the verge of joining gangs,” recounts Stambaugh.
Stambaugh says the political bug bit her during a memorable week at the state capital job-shadowing former 25th District Rep. Joyce McDonald, when the would-be legislator was in junior high. “That’s where the desire began. I loved the tensions, the clash of ideas and perspectives in order to come up with the best ideas. So this was always in the back of my mind to do this and run. My parents instilled in me the value of limited government, and that’s why I am a Republican.”
A graduate of University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, Stambaugh managed to drum up nearly $175,000 in campaign contributions, much of which went toward mailers and postcards.
More about Melanie from her web site:
- Melanie serves on the Communities in Schools of Puyallup’s Board of Directors
- In 8th grade, she helped create Communities in Schools Puyallup’s annual service project, March Gladness
- Serves as the Communities in Schools Programs Chair Committee Chairperson
- Served as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Washington State Fair Foundation Round-Up Action in 2013, raising over $115,000 for educational programs and scholarships
- Contributed at the Washington Policy Center as a research assistant
- Sits on the Daffodil Scholarship Foundation Board
- Is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary and volunteers with her local VFW post
- Volunteers as a tutor for students at Rainier Beach High School
Perhaps Ms. Mitchell has a thing against smart, pretty, productive republican women?