Gov. 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 a second term.
As governor, Locke works to make Washington a better place to live, work and raise a family by:
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. Through a combination of part-time jobs, financial aid and scholarships, Locke attended Yale University, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1972.
After receiving his law degree from Boston University in 1975, he worked for several years as a deputy prosecutor in King County, prosecuting felony crimes. 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 spent as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Prior to being elected governor, Locke served as chief executive of King County in 1993 and took on the issues and challenges facing Washington’s largest city.
Locke and his wife, Mona Lee Locke, a former reporter for the NBC affiliate KING 5 television in Seattle, were married Oct. 15, 1994. The Lockes have three children—Emily, born in March 1997, Dylan, born in March 1999 and Madeline, born in November 2004.