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Sen. White: A life of devotion to family, friends, public service

President, Washington State Labor Council

Yesterday I attended the memorial service for Senator Scott White held at the University of Washington. The Meany Center was filled to capacity with family, friends, political dignitaries, colleagues, and many who came to pay their respects to a public servant whose work was cut off far too soon.

While I did not know Scott very well personally, through the words of friends and family, I came to understand a bit of the nature of a man who, after his very first legislative session, called for a meeting with the Washington State Labor Council President and legislative team to assess the previous session and to think through what was next. Scott was a purposeful man who thrived in the world of policy and politics. What became clear during the service was that Senator White had lived the life he had always dreamed — a life filled with devotion to family, friends, and public service.

In addition to being purposeful, we learned  Senator White was a joyous and playful person as well. Senator Ed Murray read a reply text message that Scott had sent to Majority Leader Brown a few weeks ago that read, “Hey, dude, unless it’s an emergency I am in a pumpkin patch with 60 kids.”

Scott’s wife, Allison, passed on a favorite saying of Scott’s that went something like this: “Life is inherently messy, and no amount of plastic boxes can change that.”

What I took from this and from what so many others said is that Scott White, while always a pragmatist, also always dreamed of an optimistic future that we had a duty to strive towards — for the sake of our children.

As one of Scott’s friends said, “The sun never sets on a cool dude.”

Senator White will be missed, but he will also be remembered.

Jeff Johnson is President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.


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