Frank Chopp

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Frank Chopp
Speaker of the Washington House of Representatives
Assumed office
January 3, 1999
Preceded by Clyde Ballard
Member of the Washington House of Representatives
from the 43rd district
Assumed office
January 1995
Preceded by Pat Thibaudeau
Personal details
Born (1953-05-13) May 13, 1953 (age 63)
Bremerton, Washington, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Nancy Long
Alma mater University of Washington, Seattle

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


Frank Chopp was born on May 13, 1953 in Bremerton, Washington.[2] While still in high school in Bremerton, Chopp led a protest against the local Elks Club's refusal to allow black members.[3] As a student at the University of Washington, he organized efforts to preserve low income housing in Seattle.[3] He graduated from UW in 1975[1] Magna cum laude.[2] He is married to Nancy Long and has two children.[1][2]

Early career[edit]

Frank Chopp's early career focused on social services and education. After graduating at UW, Chopp became the Director, Cascade Community Center. In 1976, he became the manager of the North Community Service Center, Seattle Dept. of Human Resources. Then he spent two years as the Administrative Director of the Pike Market Senior Center. He came back to the North Community Service Center in 1981 as a manager for two more years.[2] In 1983, Chopp became the longtime executive director of the Fremont Public Association (now known as Solid Ground), and later served as President of the organization.[2] Since 2006, he has served as a Senior Advisor to Solid Ground.[2]

In 1992-1995, he held a part-time lecturer position at the University of Washington Graduate School of Public Affairs.[2]


Chopp was first elected to the House in 1994, and has been Speaker of the House since 2002, having been a co-speaker since 1999.[1] After two terms in office, he became House Democratic leader in 1998[4] From 1999-2002, he served as Co-Speaker of the House, as the Democrats and Republicans had equal numbers of members.[5]

Chopp led the House Democratic Caucus in a successful effort to retake the majority after losing nearly thirty seats in the 1994 election.[1] After two terms in office, he became House Democratic leader in 1998.[6] In his first term as Democratic Leader, he led the Democrats from the minority into a tie, and then three years later, into the majority.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9]

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."[10] 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.[11] 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[12] and the Post-Intelligencer[12] (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."[13] 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)."[12]


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