A Life of Public Service

For most of his professional career Roger has worked in government and politics. Before his election to the Legislature in 2006, Roger had already served as senior staff in the United States Congress in Washington, D.C., and here in Washington State he had served as a state agency director. As the youngest son of a college political science professor, Roger’s rigorous undergraduate and graduate education in law and public policy prepared him for a life of public service.

At the State Capitol, Roger has served for many years as Chair of the House Public Safety Committee, with jurisdiction over the state’s criminal justice system. When he first arrived in the Legislature back in 2007 he had already hit the ground running, appointed as Vice-Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, a position he held for six years.

As a lawyer and expert in criminal justice, Roger has led the Legislature to enact a series of important bills, including landmark measures to reduce drunk driving, comprehensive reform of our state’s domestic violence laws, and a historic agreement between police and community groups to strengthen the law related to use of deadly force and police training. Roger also enacted a major expansion of early childhood education, improvements to our court system and measures to help us prepare better for emergencies.

Roger is ranked as one of the most effective legislators in the United States, as half of the bills he has introduced have been enacted into law, a remarkable accomplishment. He has developed long-lasting and productive working relationships with a wide range of stakeholders to address important policy issues.

Roger brings considerable professional experience from his legal practice, service in federal and state government and his work in the non-profit world. Trained in environmental law, Roger employs his working knowledge of the laws that protect our air, water, species, habitat and other natural resources, and he has served on the House Environment Committee. He has also developed an expertise in energy policy, especially in alternative motor fuels.

In Washington State in the late 1990s Roger served as Executive Director of the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission, where he became an expert in sentencing policy and was elected to the board of the National Association of Sentencing Commissions.

Roger has been a national voice in the movement to end the failed “War on Drugs.” From 2001 to 2009 Roger worked on a ground-breaking initiative to promote cheaper, more effective and more humane alternatives to punitive drug policies. Directing the King County Bar Association’s Drug Policy Project, Roger coordinated an impressive coalition of two dozen professional and civic organizations, which spurred the Washington State Legislature to reduce needless incarceration of the addicted and to shift funding into drug treatment. Working with bar associations in several other states, Roger has also served as Executive Director of the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers, partnering with attorneys, judges and state legislators to enact drug policy reforms nationwide.

At Home and in the Community

Having lived in Kirkland for a generation, Roger is deeply embedded in his community. His two children attend the local public schools. On a regular basis Roger can be seen at local restaurants and coffee shops meeting with his constituents.

He has always given back to his community, including his service as:

  • Board Member for Hopelink, the premier community action agency on the Eastside.
  • Former President of Kirkland’s Lakeview Neighborhood Association.
  • Serving on the board of Kirkland’s Norkirk Neighborhood Association.
  • Volunteering for many years as an attorney for the Eastside Legal Clinic.

Roger is passionate about music, having been trained in classical piano and music theory. He is a sports fanatic, closely following the NFL, the NBA, the Major League Baseball and Mixed Martial Arts.

Roger has traveled widely throughout the United States and the world, having visited more than 100 countries on six continents, and this has informed his common-sense and tolerant approach to life.

Roger’s Resumé


  • Harvard University, M.P.A. (Kennedy School of Government), 1996-1998
  • The George Washington University, J.D., 1983-1986
  • Dartmouth College, A.B., awarded Senior Fellowship, 1979-1983
  • U. of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), visiting research associate, 1981

Professional Experience

  • Criminal Justice Consultant, King County Bar Association, 2001-2009
  • Executive Director, Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission, 1998-2000
  • Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative Rick Boucher (VA), 1993-1995
  • Legislative Director and Counsel, U.S. Representative Bob Wise (WV), 1989-1993
  • Legal staff, Democratic National Committee, 1988
  • Attorney, Tillinghast, Collins & Graham, Providence, RI, 1986-1988

Current Work

  • State Representative, 45th Legislative District
    • Chair, House Community Safety, Justice, and Re-entry Committee
    • Chair, Statute Law Committee
    • Senior Member, House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee
    • House Human Services, Youth and Early Learning Committee
  • Attorney in private practice, Seattle
  • Executive Board Member, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Public Safety Task Force, Council of State Governments
  • Executive Director, Voluntary Committee of Lawyers

Local Activities and Affiliations

  • Board Member, Hopelink
  • President, Lakeview Neighborhood Association, Kirkland, 2001-2003
  • Board Member, Norkirk Neighborhood Association, Kirkland
  • Member, Kirkland Heritage Society
  • Kirkland-Redmond Unit Leader, League of Women Voters
  • Volunteer Attorney, Eastside Legal Clinic

Regional and State Activities and Affiliations

  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Washington State Public Health Association
  • King County Bar Association
  • Metropolitan Democratic Club
  • Rotary Club – University District