Fulfilling the goal inspired by her mentors, she began her career by teaching at Stadium High School and Lincoln High School in Tacoma. Over the past two decades she also has served as a PTA leader, founder of the girls’ empowerment program Ladies First, school board director, leader of the Tacoma Urban League, and member of Puget Sound’s national alumni executive committee.
Nobles’ decision to run for state Senate was, in part, aimed at making sure people of color are represented in government—and a way to encourage more Black people to run for offce. Ironically, until she decided to run, she didn’t know that there weren’t any Black senators, and that the only other Black female senator before her (another Logger, Rosa Gourdine Franklin ’68), had retired 10 years earlier.
During her campaign she had to confront what she calls the “structural racism” in politics: people who questioned her capabilities and qualifications, negative ads, racist attacks. None of that discouraged her. Nobles received 50.6% of the vote, just enough to oust eight-year incumbent Steve O’Ban.
Serving in the Senate will let her advocate for issues and communities she cares about, and be available to the residents of the district she represents. But she sees her role as more than that. “This opportunity, in this moment—as it is oftentimes when Black people are in these positions—it’s way bigger than I am,” she says. “I hope to be completely responsible and to take care of this opportunity to lead, to open the doors for someone else.”