The most important question any candidate can be asked is why are you running? 

For me to answer that question, I have to explain a little about myself.

First off, I am a lifelong Washingtonian.

When I was a small child, my biological father got ready to leave for work. It was payday. My mom told him he better not stop at the tavern on the way home and drink his paycheck because we were out of money and the cupboards were literally bare. Mom also knew that when he drank, he became abusive.

Well, he didn’t come home. So, my mother gather up my older brother, borrowed enough money to take a bus back to Vancouver, Washington. She got her old job back as a telephone operator and walked two miles to and from work every day.

Eventually she remarried a good man who adopted my brother and me and brought with him another brother and sister for me. Dad was a lifelong card-carrying Teamster truck driver. Mom belonged to the CWA.  They provided a good life for us. We owned our home, took family vacations, and had a wooden boat in the garage. They retired relatively comfortably on union pensions and with good health care.

That was my life and it taught me two very important things. First, people of humble means need advocates whether it is their union or people in office who will stand up for them and the vulnerable. People who will never give up the fight for social and economic justice.

Second, I learned the importance of a strong public education. My dad was forced to leave school in the eighth grade to help save the family farm during the Depression. Every week at the table he would say to us: They can take everything away from you but your education – so get one!

I am a passionate believer in strong public schools. I am married to a retired middle school teacher and principal and am myself, a former business agent for a union representing classified public school employees.

These are my life experiences and the values that grew out of them. I will fight for progressive policies just as I have done all my life, in the legislature as Majority Leader, and in Congress when I fought to hold President Trump accountable.

I will fight for a clean Puget Sound just as I have done in Congress when I established the first ever Puget Sound Recovery Caucus and when I sponsored the Save Our Sound legislation to restore the health of the Puget Sound.

I will fight for meaningful policies to combat climate change just as I did when I was the first member of the congressional delegation to sign I-1631 and when I became one of the first members of Congress to co-sponsor HR 763, the carbon fee and dividend bill.

I will fight for a more progressive tax system, just as I did when I was in the legislature and led the effort for tax reform.

We have made significant progress as a state since 2020, but there is still more work to be done. I would be honored to have your support once again to continue fighting for a Washington where everyone is able to have access to opportunities.

Denny is a proven leader who will bring civility and fairness to legislative debate. He has years of experience in economic and business development and upholds a long-time commitment to effective, transparent government.

Denny’s Bio

  • Born 1952 in Vancouver, Washington.
  • Married Paula Fruci Heck (1976), a retired middle school principal. Two sons, Robert (Bob) (b. 1984) and Trey (b. 1991).
  • B.A. degree, The Evergreen State College, 1973. Attended the first year it opened. Later served on both the Foundation Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees.
  • Elected to the first of five terms in 1976 to the State House of Representatives from the 17th Legislative District. Chaired the Subcommittee on Basic Education (1977) that produced the Basic Education Act. Co-chaired the House Education Committee during the tied House (1979–81). Elected Minority Floor Leader and Majority Leader (1981–85).
  • Served as DCOS and Chief of Staff to Governor Booth Gardner (1989–93).
  • Served as CEO and co-founded TVW, Washington statewide public affairs network from 1993 to 2003. While there, hosted the weekly program, Inside Olympia, and won an Emmy for writing and directing a documentary entitled Supreme Justice.
  • Was an original investor in the gaming and streaming media company, Real Networks. Co-founded Intrepid Learning Solutions and several other small businesses.
  • Author of three books: Challenges & Opportunities (an extended essay about the future of Washington’s schools); The Enemy You Know (a mystery); Lucky Bounce (a personal memoir). Also wrote and performed in a one-man play entitled Our Times.
  • With Paula Heck, provided initial funding that established the Principals’ Emergency Checkbook Fund within the Olympia Schools Foundation to assist low income students.

Denny Heck Congressional Service

  • Ran for the new Tenth Congressional District and won in 2012 with 58.6 % of the vote.
  • Prior to being sworn in, formed the SR 167 Coalition in Pierce County that successfully advocated for funding of the completion of SR 167.
  • Appointed in first term to the Financial Services Committee with jurisdiction over capital markets, financial institutions, housing, the Federal Reserve, etc.  
  • Lead House Democrat in 2015 on reauthorization of the job-creating Export-Import Bank.
  • Member of the New Democrat Coalition, caucus of House Democrats favoring economic growth and innovation.
  • Founded and co-chaired the Housing Task Force of the New Democrats which produced the report, Missing Millions of Homes, that set forth the housing shortage in America.
  • Appointed in 2017 to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence which has oversight over the 17 intelligence agencies of the federal government including the Central Intelligence Agency. The committee led the House’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the 2019 impeachment inquiry.
  • Prime sponsored legislation enacted into law reforms to FHA’s reverse mortgage program.
  • Prime sponsored legislation enacted into law that renamed the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge.
  • Co-founded the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus. Prime sponsor of Puget S.O.S. (Save Our Sound) legislation (pending) to restore the health of the Puget Sound.
  • Co-wrote the SAFE Banking Act, allowing state-regulated marijuana businesses to access the banking system in order to reduce the public-safety risks of all-cash businesses.