Denny Heck

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Denny Heck
Denny Heck official.jpg
17th Lieutenant Governor of Washington
Assumed office
January 13, 2021
GovernorJay Inslee
Preceded byCyrus Habib
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 10th district
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byMarilyn Strickland
Member of the Washington House of Representatives
from the 17th district
In office
January 10, 1977 – January 11, 1985
Preceded byEugene Laughlin
Succeeded byKim Peery
Personal details
Dennis Lynn Heck

(1952-07-29) July 29, 1952 (age 68)
Vancouver, Washington, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Paula Fruci
(m. 1976)
EducationEvergreen State College (BA)
WebsiteGovernment website

Dennis Lynn Heck (born July 29, 1952) is an American entrepreneur and politician serving as the 17th and current lieutenant governor of Washington. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the U.S. Representative for Washington's 10th congressional district from 2013 to 2021 and as a state representative from 1977 to 1985.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Washington, Heck attended Evergreen State College in Olympia. Following his service in the state house, Heck returned to the private sector and started a company which specialized in business oriented education and training programs. He later helped found TVW, the public affairs television channel for Washington.

In 2010, Heck attempted to return to politics as the Democratic nominee for the 3rd congressional district, but was defeated by Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler. Following redistricting, Washington added a 10th Congressional district based in Olympia, and Heck won that seat in the U.S. House. He served there from 2013 until 2021, when he ran to become the lieutenant governor of Washington, a position he won and has served in since January 2021.

Early life and education[edit]

Heck was born in Vancouver, Washington in 1952 and raised in the Lake Shore area of Clark County where he graduated from Columbia River High School. He graduated from Evergreen State College in Olympia in 1973 and attended Portland State University from 1974 to 1975.

Early career[edit]

Heck was the co-founder with Christopher Hedrick of Intrepid Learning Solutions. He served as a board director of the company from 1999 until 2012. The company specializes in business oriented education and training programs.[1][2] He helped found Digital Efficiency, which specializes in aiding businesses and medical facilities in transitioning toward an all-digital format. Heck helped found TVW,[3] the public affairs network for Washington State. TVW provides coverage of the Washington State Legislature and sessions of the Washington Supreme Court.[4]

Heck is the author of Challenges and Opportunities: The Transformation of Washington's Schools, published in 1987.

Washington House of Representatives[edit]

Starting in 1976, Heck was elected to five terms in the Washington House of Representatives, representing the 17th legislative district in Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat counties. During that time he was elected House Majority Leader, the second-ranking position in the House. He also co-chaired the Education Committee and wrote the state's historic Basic Education Act.

Heck served as chief of staff for Governor Booth Gardner during his second term (1989–1993).

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Heck's freshman portrait (113th Congress)



In early 2010, Heck announced his candidacy to replace the retiring Democratic incumbent Brian Baird.[5] He won the primary with 31% of the vote and faced runner-up Republican Jaime Herrera, who won 28% of the vote.[6]

Heck was endorsed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on October 12, 2010.[7] Herrera defeated Heck in the general election, 53% to 47%.[8]


Heck indicated in the spring of 2011 that he would run for Congress again in 2012.[9] Soon after the state's redistricting commission announced tentative maps, Heck announced that he was running for the newly created 10th district, based in Olympia.[10] In the general election on November 6, 2012, Heck defeated Republican challenger Dick Muri to become the district's first congressman.[11]


Heck won with 51.6% of the vote over Republican Joyce McDonald.


Heck won with 58.7% of the vote over Republican Jim Postma.

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act[edit]

Since 2013, Heck and Representative Ed Perlmutter have introduced legislation to improve access to banking and financial services for cannabis businesses.[15][16] Initially known as the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act, it was rebranded as the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in 2017.[17] On September 25, 2019, the House of Representatives passed the SAFE Banking Act by a 321–103 vote, marking the first time that a standalone cannabis reform bill had passed either chamber of Congress.[18][19]

Electoral history[edit]

State legislature[edit]

District #17 state representative #1 election results (1976–1984)[20]
Year Democrat Republican
Candidate Votes % Candidate Votes %
1984 Dennis L. Heck 21,130 66.50% Steve Moore 10,645 33.50%
1982 Dennis L. Heck 15,080 64.48% Suzanne Taylor-Moore 8,308 35.52%
1980 Dennis L. Heck 28,302 71.64% Elizabeth G. Spires 11,202 28.36%
1978 Dennis L. Heck 16,486 69.37% David H. Miller 7,278 30.63%
1976 Dennis L. Heck 17,998 59.15% Eddie McAninch 12,428 40.85%

Lieutenant governor[edit]

On December 4, 2019, Heck announced that he would not seek reelection to Congress in 2020.[21] On April 3, 2020, he filed to run for lieutenant governor.[22]

Lieutenant governor election results (2020)[23][24]
Year Democrat Democrat
Candidate Votes % Candidate Votes %
2020 Dennis L. Heck 1,658,405 45.61% Marko Liias 1,218,548 33.51%

Personal life[edit]

Heck and his wife Paula Fruci have been married since 1976 and have two sons.

In 2008, he wrote and performed a one-man play, Our Times, to several sold-out audiences.[25] He and his wife, Paula, who directed the play, donated all proceeds to local charities.

Heck has supported numerous organizations within Washington, both actively and as a contributor. He currently serves on the board of trustees for Evergreen State College.[26] He serves on the board for the Washington State History Museum.[27] He is a member of the Steering Committee for the Washington Learns Commission; a long-term strategy to improve the education system of Washington.[28]


  • Challenges and Opportunities: The Transformation of Washington's Schools, Advance Washington (1987)
  • Luck Bounce, Amazon (2015)
  • The Enemy You Know, Amazon (2018)


  1. ^ Intrepid Learning Solutions Archived September 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Intrepid Learning Inc.'s corporate learning platform". Archived from the original on October 16, 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  3. ^ "TVW".
  4. ^ "Digital Efficiency". Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  5. ^ "Denny Heck enters race for Baird's seat". January 7, 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  6. ^ Kyle Trygstad (August 26, 2010). "Herrera Up Big in WA-3 Poll". CQ Politics. Archived from the original on August 31, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  7. ^ Send Denny Heck to Congress, editorial board, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 12, 2010
  8. ^ "Congressional District 3". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  9. ^ The Seattle Times | Denny Heck signals possible run for new 10th District, Seattle Times", May 23, 2011
  10. ^ Connelly, Joel (December 28, 2011). "A "Denny District" -- new House $$ pitches". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  11. ^ Schrader, Jordan; Shannon, Brad. "Democrats Derek Kilmer, Denny Heck win Congressional races". The News Tribune. Tacoma News, Inc. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  12. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  13. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  14. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  15. ^ "SAFE Banking Act Introduced as Congress Looks to Address Cannabis Banking Issue" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: March 7, 2019.
  16. ^ "Perlmutter, Heck Introduce Commonsense Marijuana Business Access To Banking Act" (Press release). July 10, 2013.
  17. ^ Wallace, Alicia (April 27, 2017). "New federal bill would allow banking for marijuana businesses". The Cannabist. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  18. ^ "Joint Release: Safe Banking Act Passes U.S. House Of Representatives With Overwhelming, Bipartisan Support" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: September 25, 2019.
  19. ^ Jaeger, Kyle (September 25, 2019). "House Approves Marijuana Banking Bill In Historic Vote". Marijuana Moment. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  20. ^ "Election Search Results – Elections & Voting – WA Secretary of State". Washington Secretary of State. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  21. ^ Bowman, Bridget (December 4, 2019). "Washington Democratic Rep. Denny Heck not running for reelection". Roll Call. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  22. ^ Drew, James (April 3, 2020). "U.S. Rep. Heck files paperwork to run for state Lieutenant Governor". The News Tribune. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  23. ^ "November 3, 2020 General Election Results – Lt. Governor". Washington Secretary of State. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  24. ^ "Denny Heck defeats Marko Liias in Washington state lieutenant governor election results". Seattle Times. November 3, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  25. ^ "Denny Heck: Part liberal, part conservative". The Columbian. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  26. ^ "Board of Trustees at Evergreen". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  27. ^ "Washington State Historical Society > Research". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  28. ^ "Washington Learn Steering Committee". Archived from the original on November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2016.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 10th congressional district

Succeeded by
Marilyn Strickland
Political offices
Preceded by
Cyrus Habib
Lieutenant Governor of Washington