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Double duty for Rep. Hans Zeiger

State representative serves in Air National Guard

Rob Zeiger, left, brother of Rep. Hans Zeiger, right, was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in August. The brothers are pictured with their grandmother Virginia Nisker, a World War II veteran of the Navy WAVES. Courtesy photo

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When it comes to elected officials, Hans Zeiger not only stands apart because he is young and passionate, but because he is voluntarily serving the community on double duty.

"I felt obligated to public service in a political sense, but I also wanted to serve my country. The Washington Air National Guard was a way to further serve my community and country," said Zeiger, Washington state representative from the 25th District. The 25th District, which includes Puyallup, Fife, South Hill, Summit, Waller, Midland and Parkland, is home to many military and veteran families.

Zeiger, 29, was first elected in 2010 when he narrowly defeated the incumbent by less than 30 votes and was then re-elected in 2012. He is the second youngest member of the state legislature and a member of the Transportation, Higher Education, Technology and Economic Development, and Early Learning and Human Services committees, respectively.  

Then, in a twist of fate, Zeiger received a call from an Air National Guard recruiter in 2012 and within months, he had joined. He completed his officer training and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in late 2013 before being assigned to Public Affairs with the 194th Regional Support Wing at Camp Murray.

"There was a family heritage that includes a lot of Air Force service, so I don't think it was a surprise because I was looking for a way to serve," Zeiger continued. "This was not out of the ordinary for me."

That heritage includes a great uncle who was part of the famous Doolittle Raid, a grandmother who is a World War II veteran of the Navy WAVES and his brother, who was just commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps last month.

"One of my callings and my interest in being a legislator is getting younger people interested in public service and voting," Zeiger stated.

The lawmaker is also intently working on the Highway 167 construction project, which runs from Puyallup to the Port of Tacoma, and matters of higher education, especially given his father and paternal family's ties to public education.

While Zeiger's unit is not activated right now, he will be heading for additional training at the Defense Information School at Fort Meade. In the meantime, he will also be working on the upcoming election in November and his potential re-election to a third term.

"My time in the House has been challenging and very rewarding. I cannot imagine a better way to make a difference," said Zeiger, who added that he has all intentions of fulfilling more terms in office. "I've learned a lot and I feel like I have been able to do a lot for this community, and I'm at a really good point now and I feel like I can take on even more."

Additionally, Zeiger's personal role with the military has been a learning experience in itself and given him a new perspective to take back to the legislature, from dealing with state emergencies to the challenges that face active duty servicemembers and veterans.

"We have to make it easier for the military in our area to transition into civilian life locally," Zeiger said. "They should have every reason to stay in our state, contribute to our economy and not have to leave. That includes improving how military transfer their skills into secondary education options. We have made progress with these issues but there is room for more."

For more on Zeiger, go to

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