Brendan Williams, Health Care Advocate

About Brendan Williams

Brendan Williams is a father, the president/CEO of the New Hampshire Health Care Association, an attorney, occasional (too occasional, these days) mountain hiker, and a much-published writer on health care and other issues, especially long-term care.  

Brendan earned his master's degree in criminal justice from Washington State University and his J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law.  Three of his four published law review articles have been on criminal justice issues.  As a judicial law clerk at the Washington Supreme Court, where the longest-serving chief justice described him as "one of my finest law clerks," Brendan worked on a wide variety of cases, including subjects ranging from administrative law, attorney discipline, ballot measure constitutionality, and murder and sex offenses.

Brendan would later become the attorney for, then executive director of, the Washington Health Care Association, where he successfully battled two successive proposed cuts of $72 million in total funds for nursing home care; instead receiving funding increases in each of those two years ($33.1 million in 2003 and $19.3 million in 2004 that assisted living facilities shared).  He also forced a settlement with the state that largely exempted assisted living facilities from the state's regressive business and occupation tax.  He left WHCA upon becoming a Washington House member.

The only Washington legislator to fulfill a term limits pledge, Brendan authored 27 laws in three terms -- a record for a "safe district" legislator who was not a committee chair.  Many of those laws related to sanctions for domestic violence and sexual assault, including a law on anti-harassment protection orders, the law creating sexual assault protection orders, a law making privileged sexual assault survivor advocate communications, and a law allowing the removal of pets from domestic violence situations.  A precedent-setting law protected health clinics and churches from adverse insurance underwriting after they were targeted by crimes like arson.  His most whimsical law designated an official state amphibian at the behest of Boston Harbor Elementary School students in Olympia.  Brendan is the only 22nd District legislator to have lived in all three of its cities: Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater.  As a kid he lived in low-income housing in W. Olympia, and swam in Capitol Lake, before that became impossible.

Brendan was honored as a top-legislator by nine different groups, despite consistently battling his House leadership -- especially over consumer protection and social program funding cuts.  He did so in the face of explicit threats of reprisal.  When fellow legislators voted to furlough state workers, including their own legislative aides, Brendan offered an amendment to apply the same pay cut to legislators.  It narrowly failed.

Brendan served a little over a year as a jet-setting general counsel for a national trade association based in Alexandria, Virginia, centered around the concerns of small businesses.  He spent a more tedious two-and-a-half years as a deputy WA insurance commissioner, where he was closely involved with Affordable Care Act implementation.  He has spoken nationally at conferences on insurance topics and the Affordable Care Act.

Brendan has had over 50 print newspaper columns published in New Hampshire and Washington newspapers, and has also been published in The Hill and even USA Today.  His thoughts on health care have been acknowledged in two nationally-published books.  His son, Blake, has been the inspiration for his advocacy on constitutionally-inadequate public education funding in the state of Washington.

With future King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove and future Senator Christine Rolfes on the Washington House floor

Mt. Rainier National Park, a much-hiked favorite location