WSLC Endorsement

Largest union organization takes early action to endorse Kathy Gillespie for State Senate

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO — the state’s largest union organization representing the interests of more than 600 labor organizations with more than 450,000 members across the state — has endorsed Kathy Gillespie, Democratic candidate for State Representative in the 18th Legislative District.

The WSLC Executive Board voted to take the early endorsement action at its February meeting, citing Gillespie’s background in education, her experience as a journalist, and her commitment to advocating for working families. She is the first legislative candidate in the state to earn the WSLC’s recommendation. Most of the council’s endorsements will be voted upon at a special convention in May.

“Kathy Gillespie is a proven leader and an outstanding candidate who cares deeply about what our members in Clark County care about — improving public education and investing in infrastructure to create family-wage jobs,” said WSLC President Jeff Johnson. “Our board decided she was clearly the best choice in this important race, so we acted now to support her candidacy.”

Gillespie has served on the Board of Directors for Vancouver Public Schools for eight years, and prior to that, was an award-winning newspaper editor and reporter. The Southwest Washington Central Labor Council, representing unions in the region, interviewed Gillespie about her positions on working family issues and was so impressed that they asked the WSLC to make the early endorsement.

“Kathy Gillespie will be a champion for Clark County’s working families,” said Shannon Walker, President of the SW Washington CLC. “She is a community leader who has been a key part of the innovation and success at Vancouver Public Schools. We know she’ll be an excellent advocate for working people in Clark County as a Washington State Representative. We are proud to have her back!”

For more information, contact WSLC Communications Director David Groves at and 206-434-1301.

December 14th Update

Democrats in SW Washington are staking an early claim to the open seat in the 18th District helping two-time state legislative candidate Kathy Gillespie post an impressive start to her campaign which launched Sept. 8 and has gained momentum every week since, raising $45,000 and gaining the early support of all Democratic party groups across Clark County. In addition, Gillespie has won endorsements from Laborers Local 335, Bricklayers & Allied Trades Local 1 and the Washington Public Employees Association.

Gillespie, 54, and a resident of Clark County for more than 25 years, is running to put people first in Olympia the same way she put constituents first for eight years as a member of the Vancouver Public Schools board of directors where she worked to empower citizens to better understand and navigate administrative bureaucracy to find solutions to issues directly impacting their lives.

A 2018 win in the 18th will add a fourth Democrat from the region to strengthen the work of Democratic representatives in the 49th district and give voice to thousands of citizens desperate for leadership focused on delivering results –  not drama and divisive rhetoric that stymies effective policy-making and undermines the people’s trust in their elected representatives.

“Voters should expect more than the now commonplace extra sessions and division that has left citizens scratching their heads in disbelief at the work left undone and guarding their wallets. Citizen’s trust in lawmakers is being tested, and in many cases, has been exhausted” she said. “It’s time to elect someone with experience and a record of fighting for regular people and delivering results by focusing on getting the work done, building relationships and empowering citizens.”

Gillespie, is a former newspaper editor and longtime community volunteer and advocate who has gained a reputation as a solutions-oriented leader focused on helping all people experience success in their lives. She has worked hard to improve her community through long hours of service, leadership and advocacy and is proud to call the 18th District her home. Gillespie has the support of past and current democratic leaders including Sen. Annette Cleveland, Rep. Sharon Wylie and Rep. Monica Stonier just to name a few.

Gillespie’s year-end goal is within reach –  500 donations/$50,000 raised.

“The early response has been remarkable. We’ve held eight events since September and each has brought new people to our campaign,” she said. “ This train is rolling and picking up steam.”

Learn more at


Our campaign address is:

Committee to Elect Kathy Gillespie

800 NE Tenney Rd., Ste. 110-345

Vancouver, WA 98685

Gillespie Announces For State House


Contact: Kathy Gillespie

Phone: 360-901-6538


Democrat Kathy Gillespie, a two-term school board director with Vancouver Public Schools, announced today that she will run for the state legislature in the 18th District, Position 2 in the November 2018 election.

“Today we all are on the losing end of Olympia’s divisive, hyper-partisan squabbles. We see dysfunctional government and accept the disappointing result – our tax dollars wasted,” she said. “The damage done by those who obstruct and divide has dimmed our faith in government, hurt our communities and eroded our trust.”

Kathy Gillespie is an award-winning retired newspaper editor and reporter whose career included posts in Colorado, Arizona, California and Oregon. She has lived in SW Washington since 1991 and spent the last eight years helping to lead Vancouver Public Schools. Vancouver Public Schools are nationally recognized for innovative programs that have led to improved student success and placed the district among the nation’s top districts. Gillespie’s two children are graduates of the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and now enrolled in state universities.

“It has been a privilege to spend the last eight years working to improve our schools and ensure tax dollars are invested wisely. Now I’m running for State House to restore limited, efficient, and effective government that respects our priorities and doesn’t waste money,” Gillespie said. “I’m running to shake-up the status quo and help re-imagine our future. I have always answered to taxpayers.  I show up.  I don’t dodge and I don’t avoid. I return emails and phone calls. I listen to all sides, work well with others, and deliver results.”

In addition to her service on the school board, Gillespie has served as a Lunch Buddy, reading tutor and as a high school mentor to young women at Fort Vancouver High School. She has served in leadership roles through Parent Teacher Associations at multiple schools and been recognized for outstanding service to her community. Kathy and her family have raised three dogs for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a nonprofit organization that provides assistance dogs free of charge to recipients.

Gillespie was born in Ohio and raised in Arizona. She attended Colorado State University on a swimming scholarship and graduated in 1985 with a degree in political science.

Kathy Gillespie retires from VPS board

After eight years, Kathy Gillespie is retiring from Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors. Her last meeting as a board member will be Nov. 28. Gillespie already had a long record of educational involvement upon her initial election in 2009. Her work in Vancouver schools included volunteering, school improvement planning, parent advisory councils and development of the district’s Design II strategic plan.

The district saw many achievements during Gillespie’s board tenure. Its maintenance and operations levy was renewed three times. Voters said “yes” to a 2013 technology levy and a 2017 bond measure. VPS won three national Magna Awards from the National School Boards Association for removing barriers to learning through community school partnerships and easing the transition to school for kindergartners.

Twice the board earned recognition as the Washington State School Directors’ Association Board of the Year. It received a Special Merit Award in 2013 after five consecutive years as a Board of Distinction.

VPS will host a reception in Gillespie’s honor on Monday, Nov. 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. The celebration will be held at the Bates Center for Educational Leadership, 2921 Falk Rd. Everyone is welcome.