Tarra Simmons | KNKX

Tarra Simmons

Cory Walster, Lewis Conway Jr. and Tarra Simmons
Courtesy of Cory Walster, Lewis Conway Jr., and Tarra Simmons

We all fall somewhere on a spectrum when it comes to political participation. Maybe we just skim the news or vote in big races, but sometimes we're pushed to do more: join a march, testify in Olympia, or even run for office.

Getting involved can be risky, because it's public and there's no guarantee your voice will be heard. Those risks are amplified when you have a criminal record.

Tarra Simmons, an attorney who previously served time in prison, plans to run for the Washington Legislature.
Courtesy of Tarra Simmons

A Washington attorney and criminal justice reform advocate who previously served time in prison is seeking to become the first formerly incarcerated person elected to the Washington Legislature, at least in modern times. 

Tarra Simmons, of Bremerton, who in 2017 won a Supreme Court fight to sit for the state bar exam, despite her prior criminal conviction, formally announced her candidacy for the state House on Monday.

The past eight months have been a whirlwind of victories for Tarra Simmons—an honors law school graduate with a criminal past.

On Saturday a former Washington state prison inmate will graduate magna cum laude from Seattle University School of Law. But her criminal record may prevent her from practicing law as a licensed attorney.