King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles on Tuesday awarded Louise Miller with the Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service, an award that recognizes individuals whose work has answered the question asked by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “What are you doing for others?”
King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles on Tuesday awarded Louise Miller with the Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service, an award that recognizes individuals whose work has answered the question asked by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “What are you doing for others?” Louise Miller has responded to Dr. King’s question by dedicating her life’s work to public service in King County and advocating for access to arts and culture for all County residents.
“With her entire career spent listening intently, leading compassionately, and advocating with tenacity, Louise Miller exemplifies the hallmark values of a diligent and dedicated public servant,” Kohl-Welles said.
Miller was born and reared in northeast King County and has dedicated her career and beyond to enhancing her community through service and education. With her start in teaching music in Seattle Public Schools, she went on to have a long career both in public service and in a variety of volunteer and appointed roles.
Louise earned a degree in music with a teaching credential from San Jose State University before returning to the Seattle area to begin teaching. After a few years at that, she got the bug for political office and became a commissioner on the Woodinville Water and Sewer District, where she served from 1978 to 1985, negotiating 30-year water supply contracts among other key work.
In 1983, she sought something more and was elected to the state House of Representatives serving the 45th Legislative District representing northeast King County. She went on to serve six terms in the House, holding a variety of leadership roles and working on a multitude of issues, including endangered species, gender bias, water policy and the arts before leaving that office in 1994.
Like many great legislators, she then ran successfully for a seat on the King County Council, where she served for two terms representing District 3. At Council, she served as Chair for two years and Vice Chair for six years, as well as other committee roles. She retired from office in 2001.
She has also served in many volunteer roles, including as vice president of the 4Culture board, the King County Parks Futures task force, the Puget Sound Regional Council Cultural Task Force, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition board, the King County Board of Ethics and much more. Louise is still involved with the Seattle Opera and the Mainstream Republicans of Washington Boards.
“It is a pleasure to recognize and celebrate Louise for her accomplishments and service,” Kohl-Welles said. “Her passion for leadership and stewardship of equitable initiatives not only answers Dr. King’s question but is a key facet of her character.”
She and her husband have two children and live in Seattle in District 4.
This marks the eighth year that councilmembers have each selected someone from their district whose work embodies the spirit of King’s question.