Melanie Stambaugh’s campaign has ended, but her campaign enthusiasm has not.
The 24-year-old Republican from Puyallup says she’s ready to prove herself when she’s sworn in as the state’s youngest legislator.
Stambaugh defeated five-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Dawn Morrell in the Nov. 4 general election to represent the 25th District. State archives indicate Stambaugh is one of the three youngest women elected or appointed to the Legislature in at least the past 100 years.
Stambaugh denounces critics’ claims that her age and experience make her unfit for office. In an interview with The News Tribune, she said all that matters is her ability to represent her East Pierce community’s values.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m 24 or older than that,” she said. “The important part is being connected to the community and being a conduit for their experience.”
Stambaugh also made headlines in 2009 when she was an Emerald Ridge High School senior crowned queen of the Daffodil Festival. Today, she’s a co-owner of You Impression, a family business specializing in youth mentoring and community consulting.
She talked to The News Tribune about her goals and the upcoming legislative session, which begins in January. Here are her condensed, edited responses.