Frank Chopp

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Frank Chopp
Speaker of the Washington House of Representatives
Assumed office
January 3, 1999
Preceded byClyde Ballard
Member of the Washington House of Representatives
from the 43rd district
Assumed office
January 1995
Preceded byPat Thibaudeau
Personal details
Born (1953-05-13) May 13, 1953 (age 65)
Bremerton, Washington, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Nancy Long
EducationUniversity of Washington, Seattle (BA)

Frank Chopp (born May 13, 1953) is a Democratic member of the Washington House of Representatives, representing the 43rd district since 1995.[1] His district covers the neighborhoods of Fremont, Wallingford, the University District and Madison Park, all in Seattle. Chopp has served as the Speaker of the House since 1999.


As a young man in the 1970s, Chopp and his father built these two modernist "urban cabins" in Seattle's Central District.

Frank Chopp was born on May 13, 1953 in Bremerton, Washington.[2] His father was a coal miner who moved to the shipyards and found employment as a union electrical worker and his mother, Anne, worked in a school cafeteria.[3] He attended East High School in Bremerton and graduated top of his class in 1971.[citation needed] While still in high school, Chopp led a protest against the Elks Club's refusal to allow black members.[2] He later attended the University of Washington, graduating magna cum laude in 1975.[4] As a student at the University of Washington, he organized efforts to preserve low-income housing in Seattle.[2] To protest the demolition of low-incoming housing, Chopp lived in a geodesic dome situated in a parking lot in South Lake Union.[5]

He is married to Nancy Long and has two children.[3] He lives in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.[3]

Early career[edit]

After graduating from the University of Washington, Chopp began his career as a community organizer focused on social services and education. From 1976-1983, Chopp held various managing and directorial positions for the Cascade Community Center, the Pike Market Senior Center, and the North Community Service Center before becoming executive director of the Fremont Public Association, now known as Solid Ground, in 1983.[6] As executive director of the FPA, Chopp promoted services such as an emergency food bank, a clothing bank, and an employment program.[6][7] Chopp later served as the organization's president, and has served as senior advisor since 2006.[8]

Chopp has been involved with a number of groups, service agencies, and programs including the Coalition for Survival Services, King County Housing Opportunity Fund, Cascade Shelter Project, the Food Resources Network, the Workers Center, Lettuce Link, Community Voice Mail, the Sand Point Community Housing Association, PortJOBS, the Committee for Economic Opportunity, and the Low Income Housing Institute.[3]

From 1992-1995, he held a part-time lecturer position at the University of Washington Graduate School of Public Affairs.[8] Since 1972, Chopp has served on over twenty nonprofit boards.[8]


Chopp was first elected to the House in 1994.[3] He served as House Minority Leader from 1997-1998.[3] In 1999-2001, Democrats and Republicans split the House and Chopp served as Co-Speaker in the 1999-2001 legislative sessions alongside Clyde Ballard.[9] Chopp has served as Speaker of the House since 2002.[10]


In 2003 Chopp voted for an operating budget Democrats later condemned as the "Rossi budget" when its architect, Republican Senator Dino Rossi, ran for governor in 2004; most of Chopp's House Democrats voted against the budget.[11]

In 2006, Chopp killed a bill requiring large employers like Wal-Mart to reimburse the state if they heavily relied upon state programs for employee health care.[12]

Many fans of the former Seattle SuperSonics National Basketball Association franchise felt Chopp was a roadblock to keeping the team. Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Art Thiel stated "Sonics fans have come to know Chopp, D-Death Star, as the No. 1 legislative opponent of public help to keep the team in Seattle."[13] New owners bought out the Seattle lease and moved the team to Oklahoma City before the 2008-09 season, where the team now plays as the Thunder.

In 2008, the Democratic Senate passed a bill, 27-20, giving Washington consumers statutory warranty rights in purchasing new homes.[14] The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee before being denied a House floor vote by Chopp. The same thing had happened in 2007. Chopp's action was condemned editorially by both the Seattle Times[15] and the Post-Intelligencer[15] (then a print newspaper). In awarding Chopp a "Schrammie," Ken Schramm of KOMO News stated: "For the second year in a row, the Great and Mighty Speaker has had his way in killing a bill that would've provided homeowners with protection against shoddy construction."[16] The Post-Intelligencer asked,"Why is Democratic House Speaker Frank Chopp yet again killing a bill that would protect this state's homeowners from being on the hook for shoddy construction? It doesn't look good that Chopp has friends at the Building Industry Association of Washington, the bill's main opponent (BIAW executive VP Tom McCabe said he'd love to see Chopp run for governor)."[15]

In 2009 Chopp killed a Worker Privacy Bill that Democrats had promised to support during their 2008 campaigns. After a labor lobbyist warned some friends that organized labor might withhold support from Democrats, Chopp tried to have the lobbyist arrested by the Washington State Patrol; however, the Patrol exonerated the lobbyist.[12]

By the 2017 legislative session, a faltering Chopp again faced the prospect of losing a state budget battle to Senate Republicans, as he had every session since 2003 in which Republicans were in control. On the eve of the June 30 vote to avert a state shutdown Chopp refused to make his budget compromise public.[17]


Prior to being elected, Chopp helped lead the campaign to approve a $50 million Low-Income Housing Levy and a $25 million Seattle Art Museum Levy.[18][19][self-published source] Chopp has also initiated and organized efforts to create the Low Income Housing Institute; the Seattle Tenants Union; the King County Housing Opportunity Fund, which was the first King County allocated its own local tax dollars to provide low-income housing; the Sand Point Community Housing Project; the Broadway Emergency Shelter and the Family Shelter Program; the Cascade Shelter Project; and expanded the Housing Counseling Program, which assists low-income people who face eviction or foreclosure.[6][19][self-published source][20]

Chopp helped co-found Washington's Housing Trust Fund, which has provided over $1 billion for low-income housing since its inception[21] and also created the Housing Security Fund, which helps pay for housing and support services for the homeless,[22]


Chopp co-organized the successful application, working with the Seattle-King County Health Department, for a Health Care for the Homeless Project from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as initiating a home care program.[19][self-published source] Chopp also has initiated health programs for the elderly, people with disabilities, and those infected with AIDS.[19][self-published source]

In the 2007 legislative session, Chopp helped create Apple Health For Kids, which now covers over 800,000 young people in Washington State.[23] Chopp also implemented Medicaid Expansion in Washington State.[24] He led efforts to help enact mental health parity, which Chopp cites as "the proudest moment of my service in the Legislature."[25][26] Chopp also helped save and reform the Disability Lifeline program, which provides services for people with disabilities.[27]


Chopp was an early proponent of the Community Jobs program, which helps welfare recipients gain skills and employment through various community-based nonprofit organizations in Washington State.[28] Chopp served as a founding board member of the Office of PortJOBS at the Port of Seattle. In this role, he initiated the Committee for Economic Opportunity, which developed partnerships with the Port of Seattle, businesses, labor unions, and educational institutions.[19][self-published source] Chopp also co-initiated and developed the Seattle Worker Center, which addresses the needs of dislocated and unemployed workers, through a Re-employment Support Center, the Trades Mentor Network, and Community Voice Mail (which won a national award for Innovations in State and Local Governments) sponsored by Harvard University and the Ford Foundation.[19][self-published source]

Chopp was one of the founding members of the successful minimum wage increase initiative in SeaTac in 2013.[29] He also led a coalition to increase Washington State's minimum wage to the highest level in the nation, which was the first time annual increases were tied to the cost of living.[30] Chopp has also passed legislation requiring paid sick leave, expanding collective bargaining rights, and banning wage theft.[citation needed]


In 2015, he led efforts to invest over $1.3 billion in basic K-3 education as part of the first phase of addressing the McCleary decision.[31]

In 2005, Chopp created the Education Legacy Trust Fund, which supports "expanding access to higher education through funding for new enrollments and financial aid, and other educational improvement efforts."[32] Chopp led efforts to expand the Opportunity Grant program and Opportunity Scholarship Fund to make college more affordable for students.[33] In the 2015-17 budget, Chopp supported a tuition freeze, as well as lowering tuition costs.[34] In 2014, Chopp helped enact the DREAM Act, which provided access to college for students from immigrant families.[35]


Chopp is a proponent of taking action to address climate change.[36] He has led efforts in reducing and banning toxic chemicals, cleaning up Washington's waterways, promoting renewable energy production, clean car standards and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and other important environmental issues.[37][33][38]

Women's issues[edit]

Chopp is a pro-choice proponent. As Speaker, he supported the Reproductive Parity Act, which guaranteed health coverage for a woman's right to seek an abortion.[39] Chopp has supported efforts for pay equity for women and initiatives that get more women in the workplace.[40]

LGBT issues[edit]

In 2012, Chopp supported the Marriage Equality Act , as well as helping Washington state to be the first state to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.[41] Chopp also supported gay rights legislation in the Washington State House in 2005 that ultimately failed in the Republican controlled State Senate by one vote.[42]


During Chopp's tenure at the Fremont Public Association, he co-initiated and oversaw the operation of Seattle Personal Transit, which provides transportation for low-income elderly and people with disabilities.[43] Chopp also organized opposition to the original plan for the West Seattle Freeway in 1974, collecting over 20,000 signatures within a month to refer the issue to the voters.[19][self-published source]

As Speaker, Chopp supported legislation for the 2015 Connecting Washington funding package.[44]


  1. ^ "Representative Frank V. Chopp (WA)". Retrieved 2009-12-09.
  2. ^ a b c Garber, Andrew. "Chopp melds strategy, clout as he leads battle for House." Seattle Times. July 23, 2006. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Thomas, Ralph. "Chopp takes helm of House today – Rough times face Seattle Democrat." Seattle Times. January 14, 2002. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  4. ^ "Frank Chopp Voter Guide Statement." 2016 Voter's Guide, Secretary of State of Washington. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  5. ^ Burkhalter, Aaron. "43rd Legislative District: Round Two.". Real Change. October 29, 2014. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Corr, O. Casey. "Helping Hand Has Muscle – Lawmaker’s Activism Is Potent Force." Seattle Times. May 26, 1997. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  7. ^ "Our History." Solid Ground. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "Frank’s Biography." Frank Chopp for State Representative. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  9. ^ Oldham, Kit. "Clyde Ballard and Frank Chopp are elected co-Speakers of the state House of Representatives on January 11, 1999." HistoryLink. July 20, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  10. ^ "Frank Chopp" House Democrats. Washington State Legislature. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-18. Retrieved 2014-11-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b c
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2014-11-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^
  18. ^ Yeager, John. "The Affordable Housing Crusader." KCTS-TV. December 1, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g "Community Accomplishments." Frank Chopp for State Representative. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  20. ^ Chopp, Frank. "Guest Editorial: We Need to Fight for Affordable Housing on Many Fronts." The Stranger. August 4, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  21. ^ "The Washington State Housing Trust Fund." Washington State Department of Commerce. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  22. ^ "HB 2163." 59th Legislature. 2005 Regular Session. (WA 2005) Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  23. ^ "HB 1071". 60th Legislature. 2007 Regular Session. (WA 2007) Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  24. ^ Chopp, Frank. "Statement from Speaker Frank Chopp on Governor Inslee’s budget and revenue proposal." House Democrats, Washington State Legislature. March 28, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  25. ^ "HB 1460". 60th Legislature. 2007 Regular Session. (WA 2007) Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  26. ^ Reynolds, Ross and Hannah Burn. "Speaker Frank Chopp’s Tearful Story of Sister With Mental Illness." KUOW. December 18, 2014. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  27. ^ Chopp, Frank. "Speaker Frank Chopp’s Opening Day Speech." House Democrats. Washington State Legislature. January 9, 2012. February 28, 2017.
  28. ^ Johnson, Clifford M. and Lana Kim. "Washington State’s Community Jobs Initiative." Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. September 7, 1999. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  29. ^ Martinez, Amy. "SeaTac’s wage initiative scores backing of Democratic officials." Seattle Times. September 18, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  30. ^ Camden, Jim. "Washington House passes bill to raise minimum wage to $12." Spokesman Review. March 4, 2015. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  31. ^ "Washington State House, Senate agree on budget." Kirkland Reporter. June 30, 2015. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  32. ^ "HB 2314". 59th Legislature. 2005 Regular Session. (WA 2005) Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  33. ^ a b "Frank Chopp Speaks to King County Democrats LAC." Majority Rules. December 15, 2008. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  34. ^ Long, Katherine. "’Historic’ tuition cut sets state apart from rest of U.S." Seattle Times. July 1, 2015. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  35. ^ Tran, Alexander. "WA State Dream Act gives undocumented students a shot at higher education." The Seattle Globalist. March 20, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  36. ^ "House Democrats move priority bills before cutoff." House Democrats. Washington State Legislature. February 14, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  37. ^ "Legislative Scorecard 2003-2004." Washington Conservation Voters. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  38. ^ "Legislative Scorecard 2013-14." Washington Conservation Voters. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  39. ^ Vande Griend, Carryn. "Democratic House Passes RPA, Delivering Challenge to Sen. Tom." Seattle Met. February 22, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  40. ^ "HB 1646". 64th Legislature. 2015 Regular Session. (WA 2015) Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  41. ^ Chopp, Frank and Jamie Pedersen. "2012 Legislative Review." House Democrats. Washington State Legislature. May 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  42. ^ Garber, Andrew and Ralph Thomas. "Gay-rights bill falls 1 vote short of becoming state law." Seattle Times. April 22, 2005. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  43. ^ Reed Hawk, Liz. "March 2014 Groundviews: ‘We saw a need; we met it.’" Groundviews. Fremont Public Association. March 2014. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  44. ^ "Connecting Washington." Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved March 2, 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Clyde Ballard
Speaker of the Washington House of Representatives