Meet the Most Interesting New Politician in America: Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
February 16, 2023

Photo of Marie Gluesenkamp in front of American flagSeattle University's Institute of Public Service hosts a fascinating installment of "Conversations" Friday, February 24, from 3 to 4 p.m., in Oberto Commons in the Sinegal Center for Science and Innovation, with a rare afternoon sit-down with the new congresswoman who staged the biggest upset of the 2022 fall congressional elections. Tickets are free, seating is limited; register here.

We are eager to learn more about her down-to-earth approach to politics. Gluesenkamp Perez, or MGP, as she is sometimes called, lives in rural Southwest Washington; she is the opposite of a Democratic coastal elite. She is - or should be -- the new face of the Democratic Party.

She is 34 years old.  She and her husband are small business owners, operating an auto repair shop. She connects resoundingly with independent and Democratic voters on a wide spectrum, but especially rural and suburban voters. She understands everyday problems like managing the rising costs of living. Her toddler son occasionally comes to the shop, because the family also sometimes struggles to afford child care.

Refreshingly, Gluesenkamp Perez is not afraid to criticize her own party.

"I don't think that your traditional pedigreed Democrats are the solution to Trump extremism," she recently told Politico Magazine. "I think that a lot of these traditional Democrats, the M.O. is to go into a community and start explaining s--t. Nobody likes that. I've heard that so often. I'll go to an urban community, and people will be like, 'Oh, like this candidate was amazing. They are so smart'. And then I'll go to a rural community and talk to them about the same candidate. And they'll say, 'Yeah, they're pedantic and they don't understand. They didn't listen to us'.''

Our regular "Conversations" team will conduct the interview. Dr. Larry Hubbell, immediate past director of the Institute of Public Service and a professor in the Masters of Public Administration program at Seattle University, and Joni Balter, journalist, lecturer and professional-in-residence at Seattle University, will lead a wide ranging conversation with MGP.  One other fun fact: Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is an axe throwing champion, for fun. She is the freshest new face in Congress who brings a let's fix-it-all mentality to the job.

Dr. Larry Hubbell says, "Marie Gluesenkamp Perez  is the type of person the Democrats should be running for office all over the country. She has a special appeal to working class voters who have increasingly been turned off by the Democratic Party."

“We are thrilled to have a chance to hear from the woman who surprised everybody by speaking common sense to voters who have had it with extremists in both parties,” said Joni Balter. She brings sensible values to a Congress often driven by people yammering  about things that have little to do with the real problems people currently are facing having."