Scott Whelpley, a 47-year-old former Naval aviator and 20-year military veteran, announced Tuesday that he will seek the 21st Legislative District House seat vacated by retiring Rep. Mary Helen Roberts.
Whelpley earned his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from California State University, Chico. The Democrat from Mukilteo has already raised $17,150 dollars in his campaign for the state house.
“After 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy, I know that I’m not done serving my country. I want to make sure our community remains a wonderful place to live, work and play,” said Whelpley. “I will go to Olympia to push for responsible spending and quality transportation while promoting a strong middle class and a model public school system for our children’s future and the future of our state.”
Whelpley has two children in the Washington state public school system, 14-year-old daughter Brooke and 12-year-old son Calvin. He currently works as a senior systems analyst for Rollout Systems, where he manages projects related to the EA-18 Super Hornet simulators used to train Naval Aviators.
Whelpley’s roots reach to the California farm country of the Salinas Valley. The oldest of three siblings, he was the first and only member of his family to have graduated from college. His Mexican mother did not learn English until she was eight years old and completed only eight years of her education. Her husband abandoned the family when Whelpley was four years old, leaving his mother with three children to care for.
“For 17 years I watched my mother go off to work each day at a produce packing shed,” Whelpley recalls. “Because she was a member of the Teamsters Union local, she was able to provide health insurance for herself and her children.”
“My mother taught me that nothing is given to you, but rather that hard work, dedication and perseverance are what create success,” said Whelpley. “I want to bring that work ethic to the Washington State Legislature.”
In more than 20 years of military service, Whelpley has seen seven deployments, including five after Sept. 11, 2001. He still vividly remembers flying a mission over Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 2001, one of more than 20 combat missions he flew that tour, for which he received a Navy Air Medal. Two of his tours were boots on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. Working with special operations in Iraq he received the Bronze Star for exceptional meritorious service. He has been stationed in and around the Pacific Northwest since 2000.
There are currently only three Latinos serving in the Washington State Legislature, while nearly 12 percent of the state and 10 percent of Snohomish County is Latino. The 21st Legislative District covers all of Mukilteo, most of Edmonds and parts of Lynnwood and Everett.