Lilian Hale serves in legislature


Though we are just slipping into April, it has already been a remarkable year for Wahkiakum High School senior Lilian Hale. Last month, Hale was serenaded by the Washington State Legislature as she stood in proxy for her step-father, Representative Joel McEntire, during the final day of their last session while he was deployed for military duty. Hale is likely to remain the youngest person to ever serve in this capacity. One has to be 18 to do so and those senators and representatives welcomed her to their world on March 7 with a joyful and timely rendition of Happy Birthday. “I will never forget my 18th birthday,” Hale said. “It was an experience, that’s for sure.” She was sworn in by a judge and staff took care of every detail, right down to taking McEntire’s name off his office door for the day, and replacing it with hers, as well as placing a plaque with her name on it at her table on the floor. “What was crazy to me was the amount of paperwork I had to do,” Hale said. “That was something I did not expect. I had to file all the paperwork, like I was entering a job, even though it was only for a day.”

“It was a whole ordeal,” she said laughing. That’s right, she got paid for what ended up being a nearly 12 hour day, starting with even more paperwork. Overall, she described the experience as “incredible.” People were taking pictures to post on social media, and Hale has done a few interviews since. “I felt very seen,” she said. “The thing was, I didn’t think it was that big of deal. In my head, I was just stepping in for the day. When I get there, it’s a big ordeal, it’s very special, and everyone is talking about it.”“This is not what I expected,” she said in singsong voice, laughing again. Turning serious again, Hale confessed she was glad she agreed to step into the role for McEntire. “It was a very cool experience, It felt very important,” she said. “I knew it was important thing to him. It felt cool to do something that impacted everyone.” As proxy, she spent the day voting on bills. “We were mainly voting on capital budget,” Hale said. “They were all just revised bills on capital budget or just extra bills that needed to be revised. We just revoted on them.” When I caught up with McEntire earlier this year, he explained that the role would be largely ceremonial, but it turns out Hale was able to make the experience all her own. She made her own decisions that day in March, and used her own voice. “What’s funny is that I had no idea how he would have voted,” Hale said. “I actually went to caucus and we sat in a room discussing the bills,” she continued. "Everyone was making their case for why you should or shouldn’t vote for it. I pulled up the bills myself and read through everything, and if I agreed with the bill I voted for it, and if there was something in there I didn’t like, I voted no. In one case, I was actually the only one to vote no.” “That was the most fun,” Hale said. “I had Jim Walsh there, so I had some guidance. If I had any questions, I would turn to him to ask.” I wondered if she had any interest in pursuing it as a career. “I really don’t,” she said. Hale, who represented the Mules wrestling team at the state championships at the Tacoma Dome in February, will graduate from Wahkiakum High School this year and simultaneously pick up an Associates degree from Lower Columbia College, where she has been participating in the Running Start program the last two years. She’s already been accepted to St. Martin’s University where she plans to pursue a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Hale wants to be a Registered Nurse and work either in labor/delivery or hospice, and has already picked up some experience in both areas. She worked for Hospice briefly as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant. “I just loved the people in Hospice,” Hale said. “I know it’s a very hard thing, it’s a very hard profession to work in, but to me it’s a lot easier because a lot of people on Hospice are very accepting of death. I’ve come to realize it is a part of life. I feel I have the mental space for it.” And clearly the heart for it. Earlier this year, Hale delivered the newest member of her family when a winter storm impeded a midwife’s arrival. “My mom gave birth here at the house,” Hale said. “She had a midwife, but it was the day of the snowstorm, so the nurse was late. I actually got to deliver my baby sister.” That sounds about right. If anybody knows how to deliver, it’s Lilian Hale.


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2024