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Visit your legislators in Olympia during the 2011 Legislative Session

These are your representatives in the state Legislature. From top: Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes; Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon; Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Anacortes.   - File photos
These are your representatives in the state Legislature. From top: Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes; Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon; Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Anacortes.
— image credit: File photos

Curious what really goes on during a Washington state legislative session?

Visit Olympia during the next three months and watch your legislators in action. Make your opinions known to your San Juan County representatives: Jeff Morris and Kristine Lytton in the House and Kevin Ranker in the Senate.

The legislative session starts Jan. 10 and lasts for 105 days. You can take a free tour of the Washington State Capitol Legislative Building, reportedly one of the most magnificent state capitols in the nation. It boasts one of the tallest masonry domes in the world at 287 feet. Inside, a five-ton Tiffany chandelier hangs from the 175-foot high interior dome ceiling – the largest chandelier ever created by Tiffany Studio artists.

Guided tours include the Rotunda, offices of elected officials, State Reception Room and Public Galleries to view the House of Representatives and the Senate Chambers. Tours are offered daily on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; the building is open to visitors until 4 p.m.

While in Olympia, locate your county’s commemorative plaque along Capital Lake’s perimeter, a 1.5-mile walk. Pick up a free walking tour guide available at the Visitor Center and find up to 30 historic downtown sites, including the End of the Oregon Trail Monument in Sylvester Park and the 1892 Old State Capitol/County Courthouse.

Other sites to see:

— The State Capital Museum in the historic 1920 Lord Mansion. It's listed on the state and national Register of Historic Places and showcases the state’s political and cultural history.

— Bigelow House Museum, built in 1860 by pioneer lawyer Daniel R. Bigelow, “Father of Washington State.” It is the oldest home in Olympia and one of the oldest still standing in the Pacific Northwest.

The Carpenter Gothic-style Victorian home was occupied until 1994 by four Bigelow family generations and is on the state and national Register of Historic Places. It showcases original antique furnishings, artifacts and handicrafts.

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