Until 2020, T’wina Nobles had no intention of running for the state Senate. She was doing work she loved as president and CEO of the Tacoma Urban League, and had just been re-elected to the University Place School Board. Community members and legislators had occasionally suggested she run for state office, and she would say, “Nope. It’s not my time.”

When she finally decided it was her time, Nobles ’06, M.A.T.’07 declared her candidacy for state Senate for the 28th District. That was mid-March of 2020—and a few days later, Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a stay-at-home order for the state in response to the coronavirus. Soon the pandemic upended everything, including Nobles’ campaign plans. But she was undeterred. She has been facing down obstacles her whole life.