Stepdaughter fills in for local legislator, becoming youngest Washington lawmaker of all time

Lilian Hale joins Legislature on final day as 19th District Rep. Joel McEntire, R-Cathlamet, serves U.S. Marine Corps reserves


The House of Representatives officially welcomed its newest member Thursday, and in the process, set a record unlikely ever to be matched — much less broken.

Lilian Hale, the stepdaughter of 19th District Rep. Joel McEntire, R-Cathlamet, a U.S. Marine Corps reservist, served in his place during the final day of the 2024 legislative session while McEntire completed mandatory service.

“We are so proud to welcome Representative Hale to the floor,” Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, said on the House floor. “Of course, she is filling in for her stepfather, who is deployed in service to the country, and we are thankful to him for that.”

Hale’s representation of the 19th District came on her 18th birthday, the minimum age requirement to serve in the Washington state Legislature.

“No one will ever (beat) her for being the youngest representative in this body,” Walsh said. “The best anyone could ever do is tie her by beginning their service on their 18th birthday.”

While not required, it is customary for family members to fill in for deployed state officials.

In 2017, Sen. John Braun’s wife, Marlo Braun, was temporarily sworn in by Lewis County District Court Judge Wade Samuelson while her husband completed required military training with the U.S. Navy Reserves.

According to previous reporting by The Chronicle, the wife of former Sen. Mike Kreidler, of the 22nd District in Thurston County, served in his place for nearly the entire 1991 session when Kreidler was called for active duty deployment.

McEntire was elected to the House of Representatives in 2020 and serves on the Education, Capital Budget and Post Secondary Education and Workforce committees.