Governor Gary Locke was elected on November 5, 1996, making him the 21st governor of Washington. Re-elected on November 7, 2000, he is in his second term. He is the first Chinese-American governor in U.S. history.
Prior to serving as governor, he served as a county executive and state representative. He also worked as a deputy prosecutor.
Some of the Governor's duties:
January 21, 1950
Franklin High School, Seattle, 1968
Yale University, B.A. in Political Science, 1972
Boston University, J.D. (law degree), 1975
Emily Locke, Dylan Locke, and Madeline Locke
James and Julie Locke
Three sisters and one brother
First cats Gatsby and Maya.
Gatsby lived with Mrs. Locke before she married the Governor, and Maya joined the family shortly thereafter. Both were adopted from animal shelters.
What is it like being governor?
I am honored to serve as governor of Washington, and especially as our nation's first Chinese-American governor. It is a difficult and tiring job at times, but it is also very rewarding.
Why did you want to become governor?
I always wanted a job where I could help people. I never dreamed when I ran for a seat in the Legislature that I would end up in the Governor's office. At the time, I wanted to do something to improve education in the state. It's still my highest priority.
What do you like and dislike about your job?
It is gratifying to have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people of our state. Being governor enables me to work on things I care about, especially making our schools better. I also enjoy being able to travel throughout Washington and meet many fascinating people.
One disadvantage is the time commitment. My family is very important to me, and even though I place strict guidelines on how many evenings and weekends I can work, I still am not able to spend as much time with them as I would like.
Who has inspired or influenced you in your life?
My mom and dad were a great inspiration to me and showed me that I can do anything if I work hard enough. They also showed me that education is very important, no matter what age you are.
What accomplishments as governor are you most proud of?
We have had many accomplishments since taking office in January 1997. I am extremely proud of our efforts to create the successful Reading Corps program, which provides tutors for struggling readers, and Promise Scholarships to enable hardworking high school seniors to attend college. Finally, our WorkFirst program has helped many people to leave public assistance and return to work to make a better life for their families.
What other careers did you consider?
At one time, I wanted to become a teacher or forester.
What advice do you like to offer to young people?
I like to encourage students to reach for the stars and go for their dreams. I tell them not to be afraid to pursue something different. I also tell them that it's very important to read as much and as often as they can and to work hard in school.
What's it like being a dad?
Being a father to Emily, Dylan, and Madeline means the world to me. I am amazed at how quickly they grow up. It is exciting to watch them learn new things every day.
Do you have any favorite movies?
My favorite movies are the “Star Wars” trilogy and “It's a Wonderful Life”.
What were your favorite subjects in school?
My favorite subjects were math and social studies.
Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy photography, gardening, carpentry, and home remodeling, especially plumbing.
What are your favorite sports?
Hiking, camping, golf and watching the Mariners.
What are your favorite children's books?
One of my favorite children's books is “Goodnight Moon”, by Margaret Wise Brown. All children can relate to the rituals of getting ready for bed and going to sleep. The rhyming words are fun and the illustrations, which start off brightly colored, gradually fade to soft grays. It is the perfect bedtime story for young children.
“Oh, the places you'll go” by Dr. Seuss is a delightful rhyming book, and is enjoyed by children of all ages when faced with a new challenge. My children relate to it when starting pre-school, kindergarten, or even going to the dentist. All these new experiences can be wonderful adventures with the right attitude for exploration and learning.
Maybe I love “Stellaluna” by Janell Cannon because we once had an invasion of bats in the Governor's Mansion. At the time, Emily was a tiny baby and we were very concerned about her safety. This story can teach us to better appreciate nature. In the book, an orphaned fruit bat is raised by birds and is eventually reunited with her mother. It is a beautiful story of adapting, understanding, and friendship.