Sen. Matt Boehnke takes oath of office in Olympia

Tri-Cities lawmaker to serve as lead Republican on Senate Human Services Committee

Sen. Matt Boehnke began his first term as senator for the 8th Legislative District on Monday during the opening ceremonies of the 2023 legislative session.

Boehnke will be the Republican leader on the Senate Human Services Committee, which deals with issues relating to services to children and families. Those include child welfare and foster care, at-risk youth, juvenile rehabilitation, economic assistance, corrections, and children’s behavioral health, as well as issues related to intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Boehnke was also appointed to the Business, Financial Services, Gaming & TradeEnvironment, Energy & Technology; and Ways & Means committees. In addition to his four standing (or permanent) committee assignments, he will also serve on several specialty, bicameral and bipartisan organizations or panels, such as the Legislative SciTech Caucus, Washington State Legislative Aviation Caucus, State Supply Chain Caucus, and the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC).

“It is a great honor and privilege to represent the people of the Tri-Cities in the state Senate,” said Boehnke, R-Kennewick, who has just completed two terms representing the 8th Legislative District in the House of Representatives. “I am especially pleased to start my service in the Senate as the Capitol is abuzz with activity, between people returning to campus post-pandemic and the number of significant challenges facing the Legislature.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring common-sense, consensus solutions to the table and get things done.”

This year, the legislative session has returned to an in-person format, and legislative buildings are open and operating at normal capacity. While some remote-participation opportunities will continue, Boehnke urged 8th District residents to come to “their” Capitol to participate in the lawmaking process.

“My priorities this session are based on my conversations with the families, employers, workers and communities in our district,” Boehnke said. “The Legislature must work to find solutions on public safety and reducing crime; improving education; taking care of seniors, veterans and those with disabilities; and ensuring we have an all-of-the-above approach to energy that will make Washington more affordable for our families and job-creators.

“Having the people of the Mighty Eighth active in the process, in-person if possible, is key to making sure our community’s concerns are addressed.”

Boehnke was raised in Kennewick, graduating from Kamiakin High School in 1986. He then attended Eastern Washington University, becoming an ROTC-Distinguished Military Graduate and receiving his active-duty commission in the U.S. Army Aviation branch in 1990. He spent the next 21 years in military service, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring and moving back to Kennewick.

Since 2015, he has served as the director and lead professor of the cybersecurity division at Columbia Basin College. He also owns a cybersecurity consulting business. Before joining the Legislature, he served three years on the Kennewick City Council.

Boehnke and his wife, Dawn, have been married for more than 30 years. They have two sons, Matthew and Brandon.

He can be reached via email (, phone (360-786-7614) or online at

The 2023 session is scheduled for 105 days.