Locke decides against third term bid


Associated Press
King 5 News

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Gary Locke, chairman of America’s Democratic governors, announced Monday that he won’t seek a third term next year.

Locke, 53, the country’s first Chinese-American governor and the Democrats’ choice to answer President Bush’s State of the Union Address last January, cited family considerations.

Washington Governor Gary Locke cited family considerations for his reason not to seek a third term.
“After much thought and careful deliberations with my family, I have decided not to seek a third term as governor of Washington state,” Locke said in a prepared statement.

“Despite my deep love of our state, I want to devote more time to Mona, Emily and Dylan. As profoundly important as it is to be your governor, it is just as important to me to be a good husband and father.”

Locke said he is proud of his administration’s record and appreciates the confidence voters placed in him during his storied political career.

Gov. Gary Locke profile
BORN: Jan. 21, 1950, in Seattle, second of five children born to Jimmy and Julie Locke, who immigrated from China.

EDUCATION: Seattle public schools, Yale University and Boston University Law School.

FAMILY: Wife, Mona Lee Locke, a former KING-TV newswoman; daughter, Emily, 6, and son, Dylan, 4.

CAREER: After serving as a prosecutor, legislative attorney and telephone company manager, Locke was elected to the state House in 1982. He served 11 years, including five years as Appropriations Committee chairman. In 1993, he successfully ran for King County executive. In 1996, he won the first of two four-year terms as governor.

NEXT: Locke has not announced his future plans.

HOBBY: Locke likes to work on cars and do household repairs, including plumbing. He once fell off the roof of the house he was remodeling, breaking his back.

“Serving as governor has been very rewarding, challenging and personally enriching,” the governor said. “Aside from my family, it has been the greatest experience of my life.”

He gave no hint what his next career might be. He has been mentioned as a foundation or university president, working for a major law or investment company, or working in international development for Microsoft, Boeing or other corporation giant.

“I will continue to work hard and intensify our efforts on our state’s top priorities of government for the remainder of my term, focusing especially on education, jobs, health care, competitiveness and the environment.

“Together, we will continue to move our state ahead and better position Washington for the future.”

By the time Democrat Locke completes his second four-year term in January of 2005, he will have been in public life 22 years, or 27 years, if you count his stint as a deputy King County prosecutor.

Locke’s compelling personal story, which image-makers emphasized heavily in his 1996 campaign for governor, is like something out of Horatio Alger.

Second of five children, Locke spent his early years in Yesler Terrace, a Seattle housing project for veterans. His father, Jimmy, had served in World War II after immigrating to America. Gary Locke worked in the family grocery store, attended public schools and became an Eagle Scout. Affirmative action and financial aid propelled him to Yale, where he graduated in political science in 1972. A law degree from Boston University followed in 1975.

He returned home and became a deputy prosecutor, legislative attorney and phone company executive.

Locke served in the state House of Representatives 11 years, first winning in 1982 from a liberal Seattle district by defeating an incumbent from his own party. House colleagues spotted him as a likely star and gave him a coveted spot on the Appropriations Committee, where he eventually served as chairman for five years.

Then an intense young bachelor, Locke devoted long hours to learning the minutia of the state budget and how state government operates. A 1991 Seattle Weekly headline called him “The Man Who Mistook His Life for the Legislature.”

He had been married briefly in law school, but was a confirmed bachelor before a mutual friend introduced him to Mona Lee, a KING-TV newswoman who was credited with sprucing up his image and his wonkish demeanor. They had two children—the first toddlers in the 32-room Governor’s Mansion since Dan and Nancy Evans’ sons in the 1960s.

Locke considered running for governor in 1992 after Democrat Booth Gardner hung it up after two terms. Eventually he deferred to the eventual winner, Mike Lowry, and then-Speaker Joe King.
In 1993, Locke was elected King County executive.

Three years later, Lowry unexpectedly retired after a single term, and Locke jumped at the chance to step up. He waged a masterful campaign, based largely on his personal story and his pledge to improve education, which he called “the Great Equalizer.”

He defeated strong primary foes, including the state’s leading black leader, Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, and went on to crush former state Sen. Ellen Craswell in the November finals.

He won again in 2000, this time rolling over KVI-Radio personality John Carlson.

In his spare time, Locke likes to work on cars and do household repairs, including plumbing.

Possible successors to Washington Gov. Gary Locke


- Attorney General Christine Gregoire announced her decision to run minutes after Locke, a fellow Democrat, said he was out of the race. Gregoire negotiated the $206 billion settlement between 46 states and Big Tobacco in 1998. She became the state's first female attorney general in 1992, serving before that as director of the state Department of Ecology.

- Former Supreme Court Justice and former legislator Phil Talmadge announced early that he would run for governor regardless of Locke's decision. He has criticized Locke's moderate ways and is a champion of traditional Democratic interests.

Attorney General Christine Gregoire
- Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel is considering a run for governor, but hasn't decided yet. He formerly served as president and CEO of Everett Community College. After leading Snohomish County government for 12 years, term limits will preclude him from running again.

- U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, also mulling a run, has been elected to Congress by districts on both sides of the Cascades. The Bainbridge Island Democrat ran for governor in 1996, pulling about 10 percent of the Democratic primary vote. He has represented the Seattle area in Congress since 1998.

- King County Executive Ron Sims has been flirting with a run for governor for months. A veteran King County Council member and ordained minister, he was the party's unsuccessful candidate against U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton in the Republican landslide of 1994.


- State Sen. Dino Rossi rose to prominence this year as chief Senate budget negotiator, displaying a talent for getting his way while making few enemies. A commercial real estate investment broker from Sammamish, he was first elected to the Legislature in 1996 and has said he would consider running for governor.

- Bob Herbold served as Microsoft's executive vice president and chief operating officer from 1993 to 2001, following a 26-year career with Procter & Gamble. His wife, Pat Herbold, is the chairwoman of the King County Republican Party. He has expressed interest in running for governor.

- Attorney Rob McKenna has represented the Bellevue area on the King County Council since 1996. He's been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor, but may be more interested in running for attorney general.

- King County Sheriff Dave Reichert, Western Wireless chief executive John Stanton, U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt and radio host John Carlson, the Republican nominee for governor in 2000, have all said they will not run for governor.


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