Roger hit the ground running when he first arrived in the Legislature in 2007, appointed as Vice-Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, a position he held for six years. He was then named Chair of the House Public Safety Committee, with jurisdiction over the state’s criminal justice system. Roger has led the Legislature to enact a series of important bills, including landmark measures to reduce drunk driving, a major expansion of early childhood education, comprehensive reform of our domestic violence laws, improvements to our court system and measures to help us prepare better for emergencies.
Roger is ranked as one of the most effective legislators in the United States, as half of the bills he has introduced have been enacted into law, a remarkable accomplishment. Roger has developed long-lasting and productive working relationships with a wide range of stakeholders to address important policy issues.
Roger brings considerable professional experience from his legal practice, from serving in federal and state government and from working in the non-profit world.
Trained in environmental law, Roger employs his working knowledge of the laws that protect our air, water, species, habitat and other natural resources as he serves on the House Environment Committee. He has also developed an expertise in energy policy, especially in alternative motor fuels. As senior staff in the U.S. Congress in the 1990s, he:
- Managed the passage of a key amendment to the Clean Air Act of 1990, providing $250 million in assistance to workers in the coal, chemical and utility industries who were displaced by the effects of more stringent air quality laws.
- Coordinated the establishment of a national research center on alternative motor fuels and bringing entrepreneurs and scholars together to promote alternative fuels.
- Helped secure federal funding for heated bridge decks across the country, to make crossing bridges in cold weather both safer and cleaner, without having to use salt.
- Managed other major legislative efforts to tighten waste laws, both for hazardous waste cleanup and solid waste disposal.
In Washington State in the late 1990s Roger served in Olympia as Executive Director of the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission, where he became an expert in sentencing policy and was elected to the board of the National Association of Sentencing Commissions. While managing the Commission, Roger:
- Steered a bill through the State Legislature that toughened penalties on domestic violence, specifically for the violation of protection orders.
- Helped to expand the availability of drug treatment in the state prisons.
- Shepherded 14 other sentencing-related bills through the State Legislature.
- Published major reports on prison capacity and sentencing policy.
From 2001 to 2009 Roger worked on a ground-breaking initiative to take a critical look at our failed drug laws and to promote cheaper, more effective and more humane alternatives. Directing the King County Bar Association’s Drug Policy Project, Roger coordinated an impressive coalition of over 20 professional and civic organizations, including the Washington Academy of Family Physicians, the Washington Society of Addiction Medicine, the Washington State Bar, Medical, Pharmacy, Psychological, Public Health and Osteopathic Associations, the League of Women Voters, the Church Council and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, among other groups. Together, this coalition spurred the Washington State Legislature to reduce needless incarceration for the addicted and shift funding into drug treatment. Roger has been a national voice in the movement to end the failed “War on Drugs.” Working with bar associations in several other states, Roger has been the Executive Director of the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers, partnering with attorneys, judges and state legislators to enact drug policy reforms nationwide.
At Home and in the Community
- Board Member for Hopelink, the premier community actions agency on the Eastside.
- Former President of Kirkland’s Lakeview Neighborhood Association.
- Serving on the board of Kirkland’s Norkirk Neighborhood Association.
- Volunteering for many years as an attorney for the Eastside Legal Clinic.
Roger is passionate about music, having been trained in classical piano and music theory. He is a sports fanatic, closely following the NFL, the NBA, the Major Leagues and Mixed Martial Arts. Roger has traveled widely throughout the United States and the world, having visited more than 100 countries on six continents, and this has informed his common-sense and tolerant approach to life.
- Harvard University, M.P.A. (Kennedy School of Government), 1996-1998
- The George Washington University, J.D., 1983-1986
- Dartmouth College, A.B., also awarded Senior Fellowship, 1979-1983
- U. of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), visiting research associate, 1981
- Executive Director, Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission, 1998-2000
- National Association of Sentencing Commissions Board, 1999-2000
- Washington State Law and Justice Advisory Council, 1998-2000
- Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative Rick Boucher (VA), 1993-1995
- Legislative Director and Counsel, U.S. Representative Bob Wise (WV), 1989-1993
- Legal staff, Democratic National Committee, 1988
- Attorney, Tillinghast, Collins & Graham, Providence, RI, 1986-1988
- State Representative 45th Legislative District
- Chair, House Public Safety Committee
- Chair, Statute Law Committee
- Senior Member, House Judiciary Committee
- House Environment Committee
- Attorney in private practice, Seattle
- National Vice-Chair, Law and Justice Committee, National Conference of State Legislatures
- Public Safety Task Force, Council of State Governments
- Executive Director, Voluntary Committee of Lawyers
Local Activities and Affiliations
- Board Member, Hopelink
- President, Lakeview Neighborhood Association, Kirkland, 2001-2003
- Board Member, Norkirk Neighborhood Association, Kirkland, 2004
- Member, Kirkland Heritage Society, since 2003
- Kirkland-Redmond Unit Leader, League of Women Voters, since 2000
- Volunteer Attorney, Eastside Legal Clinic, since 2001
Regional and State Activities and Affiliations
- Washington State Bar Association
- Washington State Public Health Association
- King County Bar Association
- Metropolitan Democratic Club
- Rotary Club – University District
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