Lilian Hale sworn in as the youngest legislator in Washington state history, and possibly US history

Lilian Hale is the stepdaughter of 19th District Rep. Joel McEntire.

Hale was sworn in Thursday, the last day of the 2024 legislative session to serve as a temporary proxy for McEntire, a U.S. Marine Corps reservist, who has been called away on military duty. Washington state allows a temporary successor to be appointed for legislators on leave for military service or military training.

Rep. Lilian Hale, R-19

Thursday was Hale’s 18th birthday, and she is now the youngest serving legislator in Washington state history and possibly U.S. history. 

“Even though it is just for a day, it is humbling and exciting to sit in the state House of Representatives,” said Hale, R-Cathlamet. “To know you are a part of history and be a member of an institution not many people get to serve in is an incredible experience.”

Hale is studying nursing at Lower Columbia College and at this time, has no plans to pursue a future in politics.

“Standing in for my stepdad is the least I can do while he is on leave for military service. It is something he is very passionate about and he cares deeply for his country,” said Hale.

According to a release from the Washington State House Republicans

There has been some precedent in the Legislature for family members to fill in for legislators called away for military duty or training.

In 2017, Sen. John Braun’s wife, Marlo, was temporarily sworn in while her husband completed military training with the U.S. Navy Reserve.

In 1991, former Sen. Mike Kreidler was called away for active duty and his wife served in his place for most of the 1991 session.