Payne Family 3.jpg
About Dontae

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by a young single mother with two younger brothers. I am a first generation 4-year college graduate and I come from a family of home renters. We occasionally relied on public assistance to get through difficult times.

At age 23, I enlisted in the U.S. Army. I was able to earn a Master of Public Administration degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Evergreen State College following my service. I served on active duty for 6 years with two tours to Logar Province, Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. 

I am currently serving as Deputy District Director to Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland. Previously, I worked for the State of Washington as the South Puget Sound and Olympic Peninsula Regional Representative to Governor Jay Inslee. I currently serve on the board of directors for Olympia's Hands On Children's Museum. 


After re-enlisting to serve at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, my husband, Jason, and I moved to Thurston County in 2014 and we became first-time homeowners in Olympia in 2015. I separated from the military in 2016 and became involved in local political organizations shortly after arriving in Olympia. Jason and I are the proud parents of our energetic and beautiful 5-year-old daughter, Priscilla and our two dogs , Chip and Bailey.