Throughout her career, Chris Gregoire has delivered real results to the people of Washington state. Combining effective leadership with a tireless work ethic, she has shown time and again that she has the courage and independence to stand up and fight for Washington families. Her record as attorney general reflects a commitment to ensuring that the laws of Washington work on behalf of all the people of our state.
Gregoire became Washington's 16th state attorney general in 1992, the first woman elected to the position in state history. During her first term, she worked tirelessly on children's issues and led a statewide program that resulted in a comprehensive reform of the state's juvenile system. Gregoire also worked to pass a tough new ethics law for state government and to find alternatives to litigation in resolving legal disputes.
Gregoire was re-elected in 1996 and again in 2000. In November 1998, as the lead negotiator for the states, Gregoire announced the settlement of state lawsuits against the tobacco industry. The settlement provides the largest financial settlement in history and mandates tough, new restrictions on cigarette advertising and youth marketing. In the first 25 years alone, Washington will receive $4.5 billion from tobacco companies. Gregoire chaired the board of directors for a new multi-state foundation, The Legacy Foundation, which was established and funded by the settlement to develop anti-smoking education programs nationwide.
Gregoire has been a leader in the effort to protect privacy and combat identity theft, one of the fastest growing consumer scams in the country. In 2001, she led a legislative effort to strengthen victim's rights in dealing with the effects of identity theft. The new law, which went into effect later that year, helps law enforcement prosecute identity thieves, and makes it easier for victims to restore their good names. Congress is now considering a similar bill.
In the wake of the Enron scandal, Gregoire has worked to protect consumers and investors. In April 2002 she filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court in Houston seeking to recoup $97.5 million lost by the state in Enron bonds. Since then her office was selected to represent public bondholders in the class action securities fraud lawsuit filed against Enron. Gregoire has also joined the attorneys general in California and Oregon in an investigation into whether Enron and other companies engaged in illegal business practices in the Western power market.
In response to dramatic increases in prescription drug prices - especially for the state's senior citizens - Gregoire has investigated and sued several drug companies for violating antitrust laws by illegally manipulating the price and availability of their products.
Prior to being elected attorney general, Gregoire served as director of the Washington Department of Ecology from 1988 to 1992. During her tenure she negotiated the Tri-Party Agreement (TPA) with the federal government for the safe cleanup and permanent storage of radioactive wastes at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Eastern Washington. The U.S. Department of Energy's cleanup of the former nuclear weapons site is generally regarded as the largest environmental cleanup project in the world.
Raised in Auburn, Washington, Gregoire graduated from the University of Washington in 1969 with a teaching certificate and Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and sociology. In 1977, she received a Juris Doctorate degree and, in 1995, an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Gonzaga University. Gregoire and her husband Michael reside in Olympia. When not in college or law school, their two daughters join them there.