State of Washington
Gary Locke was elected Washington's 21st governor on Nov. 5,
1996, making him the first Chinese-American governor in U.S.
history. On Nov. 7, 2000, Locke, a Democrat, was re-elected to
his second term. As governor, he has worked to make Washington a
better place to live, work and raise a family by: making the
state’s schools the best in the nation; strengthening the state's
economy with an efficient, effective transportation system and
business climate; and making the state government more accessible
and user-friendly while ensuring it delivers to taxpayers the
services they most need at a reasonable and sustainable cost.
Born into an immigrant family on Jan. 21, 1950, Locke spent his
first six years in Seattle's Yesler Terrace, a public housing
project for families of World War II veterans. He worked in his
father's grocery store, became an Eagle Scout and graduated with
honors from Seattle's Franklin High School in 1968. Then, through
a combination of part-time jobs, financial aid and scholarships,
Locke attended Yale University, where he received his bachelor's
degree in political science in 1972.
After earning a law degree from Boston University in 1975, he
worked for several years as a deputy prosecutor in King County,
prosecuting people for crimes such as robbery and murder. In
1982, Locke was elected to the Washington State House of
Representatives, where he served on the House Judiciary and
Appropriations committees, with his final five years as chairman
of the House Appropriations Committee.
Prior to his term as governor, Locke was elected chief executive
of King County in 1993 and took on all of the challenges facing
Washington's most complex urban area.
Locke and his wife, Mona Lee Locke, a former reporter for KING 5
television in Seattle, were married on Oct. 15, 1994. They are
the parents of Emily Nicole, born on March 9, 1997, and Dylan
James, born on March 13, 1999.