On November 6, 1997, Claudia Kauffman (b. 1959) is elected to the Washington State Senate. A Democrat, she is the first female Native American elected to the state senate. She will serve for four years (1997-2010) as state senator in the 47th District. The 47th District includes part of southeast King County from the Renton Highlands to Kent to Black Diamond.
While serving in the senate, Kauffman introduced legislation that provided certification for teachers of First Peoples language and culture. She also sponsored legislation that expanded the Native American Scholarship Endowment, which Governor Christine Gregoire later signed into law.
Kauffman served as the vice chair for the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, and served as part of the Human Services and Corrections, Rules and Transportation Committees.
As a member of the Nez Perce Tribe, Kauffman promoted American Indian issues and education initiatives. She is also a founder of the Native Action Network, and works as an intergovernmental liaison for the Muckleshoot Tribe.
Kauffman lives in Kent with her husband and three children.