Yale University (Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, 1990. Juris Doctor, 1994); spoken languages: Russian, Polish and Ukrainian.
He currently represents the 43rd District in the Washington State Senate. He clerked for Judge Stephen Williams on the United States. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Law practice
Pedersen joined Preston Gates & Ellis in 1995, working on corporate mergers.
His pro bono work during this time focused on gay rights issues and he was Lambda Legal"s lead attorney on the state"s same-sex marriage case – Andersen v.
King County. In 2012 he was hired by McKinstry, a Seattle-headquartered construction firm, as General Counsel. Washington State Legislature
Pedersen was elected to the Washington House of Representatives from Washington"s 43rd legislative district in downtown Seattle in 2006.
His nearest competitor, former Seattle City Council President Jim Street, was only 229 votes behind with 22-percent. The race was the most expensive House contest in Washington state history, with the six Democratic candidates raising almost $500,000 among them.
In the general election, he faced only nominal Republican opposition, defeating his opponent by a margin of more than four-to-one.
He was re-elected unopposed in 2008, 2010 and 2012. Pedersen was one of a number of Washington legislator who were briefly the subject of controversy in 2013 over expense claims uncovered in an Associated Press investigation. Pedersen had used $384 in tax funds to purchase art for his office.
Pedersen explained that legislators receive an allowance for furnishing their offices and he had, typically, not used his entire allotment.
Pedersen has been a supporter of increased firearms regulation in Washington. In 2013 he introduced legislation that would require private gun dealers to request a background check from a local law-enforcement agency.
In the legislature, Pedersen has been a key proponent for the replacement of the Evergreen Point floating bridge and has introduced legislation to block the state"s department of transportation from capping spending on the project In 2012 Pedersen publicly endorsed both Washington Initiative 502 and Washington Referendum 74, which legalized the retail sale of marijuana and same-sex marriage, respectively.
Pedersen was an active member of the Yale Russian Chorus while an undergraduate and law student, and remains active in the alumni of the Yale Russian Chorus.