Senator Rosa Franklin, RN received her nursing diploma education at Good Samaritan Waverly Hospital School of Nursing in Columbia, South Carolina. She went on to obtain a BA in Biology/English from the University of Puget Sound, and then an MA in Social Science/Human Relations from Pacific Lutheran University. She also participated in the Gynecorp Training Program at the University of Washington, as well as attending numerous continuing education workshops.
Rosa’s nursing career spanned more than 40 years and many positions in health care before she retired and moved to her second career – politics! Rosa was an active member of WSNA for most all of those years, serving on numerous committees and policy bodies at the District and State level and on the Board of Directors of the Pierce County District Association and the Mary Mahoney Club.
She was elected to the State legislature in 1990, serving there until January 1993 when she was sworn in as Senator from the 29th legislative District, which includes south Tacoma and surrounding areas. Senator Franklin is the first African-American female elected to the Washington State Senate. Her leadership roles in the Senate are a tribute to her accomplishments, as well as a symbol of the respect given her by the Senate body. She has been chosen to serve as Majority Whip and as the Democratic Whip and now, in her second term, is serving as President Pro Tem of the Senate. She serves as vice chair of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee and the Rules Committee. She is also a member of the Human Services and Corrections Committee and the Labor, Commerce and Financial Institutions Committee.
Senator Franklin is continually working for the good of the people and has made lasting contributions to the health of her community, her constituents and the citizens of Washington State. She has sponsored bills dealing with such varied health-related issues such as prescription drugs, medical billing statements, women’s health, mental health benefits, school health aides, newborn infant safety, NDA/genetic testing, immunizations in long term care, health insurance for disabled persons, medical equipment, HIV/AIDS prevention, school nurses, breast and cervical cancer, and the recognition of Washington state nurses during National Nurses Week. She was also an active supporter of the WSNA Mandatory Overtime bill.
Rosa’s service to the community is strongly depicted by her Civic Activities which include the League of Women Voters; Tacoma Urban League; NAACP; Safe Streets; Cancer Screening Program for Targeted Populations; Board member, Cascade Regional Blood Services; Advisory board, Bates Technical College; Pierce County AIDS Walk.
Rosa has received many honors and recognitions in her lifetime. They include: Outstanding Volunteer from Pierce County Government; Honorary Citizen from the City of Tacoma; the Pierce County Nurses Association Nurse of the Year; the Democratic Woman of the Year Award; the Thurgood Marshall Award; Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award from the Washington Women’s Political Caucus; the Lifetime Achievement from the Washington State Democratic Party; the Woman of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of America to name only a few.
Rosa’s work, both as a RN and a legislator, will provide guidance for many generations to come in Washington state and, as a member of her staff said, “Those of us who know her, love and respect her to the fullest, and believe she is a true beacon that others can follow.”
While all of the above show a woman of renown accomplishment, she believes her greatest achievement is her 52 year marriage to husband, James and her immediate family of three children and three grandchildren.