State Rep. Kristine Reeves, a Federal Way Democrat, resigned from the state Legislature Monday as she eyes a potential run for Congress.

Reeves declined to say what specific office she may seek, but her legislative district overlaps with the 10th Congressional District — covering Olympia, Lakewood and Puyallup — where the announced retirement of Rep. Denny Heck will create an open U.S. House seat in 2020.

“At this point I’m not prepared to make any announcements, but I’m looking at other public service options in the Puget Sound area,” Reeves said in an interview.

She announced her resignation in an email from WinPower Strategies, a Democratic political consultant, indicating another campaign may be in her future.

“While we have accomplished much in Washington state, critical progressive priorities and investments in our future too often fall victim to special interests in Washington, D.C.,” Reeves said in announcing her resignation. “That’s got to change.

“That’s why I’m asking you to join me in the next phase of this fight,” Reeves said in a Facebook video.


Reeves currently lives in Washington’s 9th Congressional District, where Rep. Adam Smith is the longtime Democratic incumbent, but a person does not need to live in a specific district to run in that district.

Reeves, who is married with two young children, said that she lives five blocks from the Pierce County line.

“I take very seriously that I don’t live in the district and part of what we are looking at right now and exploring is where in the district we could move,” she said. “We’re prepared to do that.”

Reeves, a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, now works for the state Commerce Department as director of Economic Development for the Military and Defense Sector. First elected to the Legislature in 2016 by narrowly defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Teri Hickel, Reeves was the first black woman elected to the state house in 18 years. She easily won reelection in 2018. A Moses Lake native, Reeves graduated from Washington State University and calls herself an “Eastern Washington Democrat.”

“It makes natural sense that I be giving this serious thought,” she said. “I grew up in rural parts of our state, which this district is full of.”

As recently as last week, Reeves was actively campaigning for reelection, hosting an event before lawmakers are barred from raising funds during the legislative session.


“Help her send a clear message that she is running again in 2020,” the invitation to that fundraiser said.

Incoming House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, praised Reeves as a team player whose work supported service members and their families.

“I wish Kristine all the best as she moves on from the state House,” Jinkins said, “and know she will continue to be an important voice for our hard-working families.”