Booth Gardner

Last updated

Booth Gardner
Booth Gardner.jpg
19th Governor of Washington
In office
January 16, 1985 January 13, 1993
Lieutenant John Cherberg
Joel Pritchard
Preceded by John Spellman
Succeeded by Mike Lowry
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
July 31, 1990 August 20, 1991
Preceded by Terry Branstad
Succeeded by John Ashcroft
1st Executive of Pierce County
In office
May 1, 1981 December 31, 1984
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by Joe Stortini
Personal details
Born(1936-08-21)August 21, 1936
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
DiedMarch 15, 2013(2013-03-15) (aged 76)
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Jean Gardner (Divorced)
Cynthia Gardner (Divorced)
Education University of Washington, Seattle (BA)
Harvard University (MBA)

Booth Gardner (August 21, 1936 – March 15, 2013) was an American politician who served as the 19th governor of the U.S. state of Washington between 1985 and 1993. He also served as the ambassador of the GATT. A Democrat, Gardner served in the Washington State Senate and was Pierce County Executive prior to his tenure as governor. His service was notable for advancing standards-based education and environmental protection.

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is a legal agreement between many countries, whose overall purpose was to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers such as tariffs or quotas. According to its preamble, its purpose was the "substantial reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers and the elimination of preferences, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis."

Washington State Senate upper house of the Washington State Legislature

The Washington State Senate is the upper house of the Washington State Legislature. The body consists of 49 members, each representing a district with a population of nearly 140,000. The State Senate meets at the Legislative Building in Olympia.

Pierce County, Washington County in Washington, United States

Pierce County is a county in the U.S. state of Washington. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 795,225, making it the second-most populous county in Washington behind King County, and the 63rd-most populous in the United States. The county seat and largest city is Tacoma. Formed out of Thurston County on December 22, 1852, by the legislature of Oregon Territory, it was named for U.S. President Franklin Pierce. Pierce County is in the Seattle metropolitan area.



Gardner was born in Tacoma, Washington on August 21, 1936. He attended Clover Park Junior High in Lakewood, Washington before graduating from Lakeside School in Seattle. [1] His parents divorced when he was very young; through his mother's remarriage he became an heir to the Weyerhaeuser fortune. His mother and his sister, his only sibling, died in a plane crash when he was 14. [2]

Tacoma, Washington City in Washington, United States

Tacoma is a midsized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, 32 miles (51 km) southwest of Seattle, 31 miles (50 km) northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and 58 miles (93 km) northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to the 2010 census. Tacoma is the second-largest city in the Puget Sound area and the third-largest in the state. Tacoma also serves as the center of business activity for the South Sound region, which has a population around 1 million.

Lakewood, Washington City in Washington, United States

Lakewood is a city in Pierce County, Washington, United States. The population was 58,163 at the 2010 census.

Lakeside School (Seattle) school in Haller Lake, Seattle

Lakeside School is a private/independent school located in the Haller Lake neighborhood at the north city limits of Seattle, Washington for grades 5–12. Famous alumni include Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen. As of 2019, school review website Niche ranks Lakeside School the best private high school in Washington state and the seventh best private high school in the United States.

Gardner was a graduate of the University of Washington and Harvard Business School. [3] His stepfather was Norton Clapp, one of the original owners of the Seattle Space Needle. In 1976, he owned the Tacoma Tides in its one year in the American Soccer League. In 1978, he co-owned the Colorado Caribous franchise in the NASL with Jim Guercio.

University of Washington Public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States

The University of Washington is a public research university in Seattle, Washington.

Harvard Business School business school in Boston, Massachusetts

Harvard Business School (HBS) is the graduate business school of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. Consistently ranked among the top most business schools in the world, the school offers a large full-time MBA program, management related doctoral programs, HBS Online and many executive education programs. It owns Harvard Business Publishing, which publishes business books, leadership articles, online management tools for corporate learning, case studies and the monthly Harvard Business Review. It is home to the Baker Library/Bloomberg Center.

Matthew Norton Clapp was a successful businessman, and eventually served as chairman of the Weyerhaeuser Corporation. He was active in civic service and a philanthropist.


In the 1984 Democratic primary for Washington state governor, Gardner defeated Jim McDermott. In the general election he unseated Republican incumbent, John Spellman. Gardner was easily elected to a second term in 1988. He chose not to seek a third term. [2]

Jim McDermott US Congressman

James Adelbert McDermott is an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for Washington's 7th congressional district from 1989 to 2017. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The 7th District includes most of Seattle, Vashon Island, Tukwila, Burien, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway, and Edmonds. He served on the House Ways and Means Committee and was a member of the House Progressive Caucus. He was formerly the committee chairman, then in 1995, ranking minority member on the House Ethics Committee. On January 4, 2016, he announced that he would not be seeking another congressional term.

John Spellman US politician

John Dennis Spellman was an American politician who was the 18th Governor of Washington between 1981 and 1985 and the first King County Executive from 1969 to 1981.

While governor, Gardner signed into law a health care program that provided state medical insurance for the working poor. He helped develop land-use and growth-management policies that made Washington an early environmental leader, steered hundreds of millions of dollars of increased spending toward state universities, increased standardized testing in public education, and improved legal protections for gay people. [2]

The working poor are working people whose incomes fall below a given poverty line due to lack of work hours and/or low wages. Largely because they are earning such low wages, the working poor face numerous obstacles that make it difficult for many of them to find and keep a job, save up money, and maintain a sense of self-worth.

On March 21, 1992, Gardner signed a measure that outlawed selling "obscene" music to minors in the state of Washington. The law went into effect on June 11 of that year, and make record store retailers and their employees criminally liable for selling such music to anyone under the age of 18. [4]

Later years

In 1994, one year after his retirement, Gardner was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In 2006, he announced his support for assisted suicide. [5] In 2008, he filed and successfully spearheaded the campaign for Initiative 1000, Washington's Death With Dignity Act, which was closely modeled on Oregon's assisted dying law; [6] he remained involved in implementing the Act. [7] Gardner said that he supported going even further than the current Washington and Oregon laws, to eventually permit lethal prescriptions for people whose suffering is unbearable without the requirement that the sufferer have a terminal condition. [8]

In 2009, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner , a short documentary film, was produced by Just Media and HBO, chronicling the Initiative 1000 campaign. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. [9]

Gardner supported eliminating Washington's WASL test, a standardized test that was required to graduate high school. It was replaced in 2009 by the MSP for grades three through eight and the HSPE for grades eight through twelve. [10]

Gardner died at his home in Tacoma, Washington on March 15, 2013, of Parkinson's disease. He was 76. [11]

Related Research Articles

Jay Inslee 23rd Governor of Washington

Jay Robert Inslee is an American politician, environmentalist, author, and lawyer who has served as the governor of Washington since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the United States House of Representatives from 1993 to 1995 and from 1999 to 2012. He was a candidate for President of the United States in the 2020 election.

Timothy Donald Eyman is a conservative political activist in the U.S. state of Washington. He advocates for a smaller state government through lowering state taxes and fees. Among his 20 initiatives and one referendum, 10 were passed by voters, and 11 failed or were voted out.

Christine Gregoire 22nd Governor of Washington, United States

Christine "Chris" O'Grady Gregoire is an American politician and lawyer who served as the 22nd Governor of the state of Washington from 2005 to 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, Gregoire defeated Republican candidate Dino Rossi in 2004 and again in 2008. She is the second female governor of Washington. She was the National Governors Association Chair for the 2010–11 term.

Albert Rosellini state senator and governor of Washington

Albert Dean Rosellini was an American politician, the 15th governor of the state of Washington for two terms, from 1957 to 1965, and was the first Italian American and Roman Catholic governor elected west of the Mississippi River.

The Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) was a standardized educational assessment system given as the primary assessment in the state of Washington from spring 1997 to summer 2009. The WASL was also used as a high school graduation examination beginning in the spring of 2006 and ending in 2009. It has been replaced by the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE), the Measurements of Students Progress (MSP) for grades 3-8, and later the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC). The WASL assessment consisted of examinations over four subjects with four different types of questions. It was given to students from third through eighth grades and tenth grade. Third and sixth graders were tested in reading and math; fourth and seventh graders in math, reading and writing. Fifth and eighth graders were tested in reading, math and science. The high school assessment, given during a student's tenth grade year, contained all four subjects.

Denny Heck American politician

Dennis Lynn Heck is an American politician who has been the United States Representative for Washington's 10th congressional district since 2013. The district is based in the state capital of Olympia, and also includes much of eastern Tacoma.

2008 Washington gubernatorial election

The gubernatorial election in Washington, 2008 elected the Governor of Washington on November 4, 2008. Republican Dino Rossi and incumbent Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire emerged from the August 19 primary, making the 2008 election a rematch between the candidates from the 2004 election. That election was the closest in Washington State history, with each receiving 49 percent of the vote and Rossi winning the first two of three counts. In contrast to the recounts and months of legal challenges in their previous contest, Gregoire was the clear winner on November 5, earning 53 percent of the vote.

Mark Parkinson 45th Governor of Kansas

Mark Vincent Parkinson is the president and chief executive officer of the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL). A former Republican, Parkinson is currently a member of the Democratic Party. He was the 45th Governor of Kansas and a member of both the Kansas House of Representatives and the Kansas Senate.

John Cherberg American football coach and politician

John Andrew Cherberg was an American football coach, teacher, television executive, and politician. He served as the head coach at the University of Washington from 1953 to 1955, compiling a record of 10–18–2. Cherberg played college football at Washington. He served as the 13th Lieutenant Governor of Washington from 1957 to 1989, which is longer than any other lieutenant governor in the state's history.

Bob Ferguson (politician) American politician

Robert Watson Ferguson is an American lawyer and politician who is the 18th and current Attorney General of Washington. A Democrat, he was elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. Prior to serving as Attorney General, Ferguson was a member of the King County Council.

Washington Death with Dignity Act

Initiative 1000 (I-1000) of 2008 established the U.S. state of Washington's Death with Dignity Act, which legalizes medical aid in dying with certain restrictions. Passage of this initiative made Washington the second U.S. state to permit some terminally ill patients to determine the time of their own death. The effort was headed by former Governor Booth Gardner.

Gary Locke American diplomat

Gary Faye Locke is an American politician and diplomat who served as the 10th United States ambassador to China (2011–14). He was previously the 21st Governor of Washington (1997–2005) and served in the Obama administration as United States Secretary of Commerce (2009–11).

Assisted suicide in the United States

Assisted suicide is defined as suicide committed with the aid of another person, sometimes a doctor. “Assisted suicide" has been used to describe what proponents refer to as medical aid in dying in the United States for terminally ill adults who self-administer barbiturates if they feel that they are suffering significantly. The term is often used interchangeably with physician-assisted suicide (PAS), "physician-assisted dying", "physician-assisted death", "assisted death" and "aid in dying".

Death with Dignity National Center

Death with Dignity National Center is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit organization, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, that has led the legal defense of and education about Death with Dignity laws throughout the United States for 20 years. The Death with Dignity National Center helped write and defend in courts the nation's first successful assisted dying law, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, protecting the right of persons with terminal illness to control their own death. The Death with Dignity National Center is affiliated with the Death with Dignity Political Fund, a distinct and separately incorporated 501(c)(4) organization responsible for the promotion of death with dignity legislation in other states around the U.S.

Washington Initiative 502

Washington Initiative 502 (I-502) "on marijuana reform" was an initiative to the Washington State Legislature, which appeared on the November 2012 general ballot, passing by a margin of approximately 56 to 44 percent. Originally submitted to the Washington Secretary of State during the summer of 2011, enough signatures were collected and submitted by December to meet the required 241,153 signatures, sending it to the legislature. When the legislature adjourned without action in April, Initiative 502 automatically advanced to the November 2012 general ballot. It was approved by popular vote on November 6, and took effect over the course of a year, beginning with certification no later than December 6, 2012. Along with a similar Colorado measure, Initiative 502 was credited for encouraging voter turnout of 81%, the highest in the nation.

The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner is a 2009 documentary film directed by Daniel Junge and produced by Just Media for HBO Films. The film follows the "last campaign" of Booth Gardner, the Governor of Washington from 1985 to 1993, to facilitate the passage of the Washington Death with Dignity Act, legalizing physician-assisted suicide in Washington state.

Cannabis in Washington (state) cannabis in Washington State, U.S.

Cannabis in Washington relates to a number of legislative, legal, and cultural events surrounding the use of cannabis. On December 6, 2012, Washington became the first U.S. state to legalize recreational use of marijuana. The state had previously legalized medical marijuana in 1998. Under state law, cannabis is legal for medical purposes and for any purpose by adults over 21.

The Public Records Act (PRA) is a law of the U.S. state of Washington requiring public access to all records and materials from state and locals agencies. It was originally passed as a ballot initiative by voters in 1972 and revised several times by the state legislature. The definition of public records, especially concerning the state legislature, was subject to several legal challenges in the decades since the law was passed. In 2018, a county judge ruled that legislative records and communications were subject to public disclosure, after a lawsuit was filed by media outlets. In response, the state legislature appealed the ruling and introduced a bill that would exempt their records from the act.


  1. "Former Gov. Booth Gardner Dies". Congressman Denny Heck. March 16, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 Yardley, William (March 18, 2013), "Booth Gardner Dies at 76; Ex-Washington Governor", The New York Times
  3. La Corte, Rachel (March 16, 2013), "Former Wash. Gov. Booth Gardner dies", Seattle Times , archived from the original on March 1, 2014
  4. Egan, Timothy (March 21, 1992). "Washington Governor Signs Measure on Obscene Music". The New York Times . Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  5. Postman, David (February 7, 2006), "Ex-governor backs initiative to legalize assisted suicide", The Seattle Times
  6. Tu, Janet I. (November 5, 2008), "'Death with dignity' act passes", The Seattle Times , archived from the original on February 6, 2009
  7. Tu, Janet I. (February 11, 2009), "Rules governing state's Death With Dignity law debated", The Seattle Times , archived from the original on February 15, 2009
  8. Bergner, Daniel (December 2, 2007), "Death in the Family", The New York Times
  9. Oscars, Nominees (February 2010). "2009 Oscar Nominees". USA: Oscars. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
  10. Shaw, Linda (December 9, 2005), "Former governor now opposing WASL test for diploma", The Seattle Times , archived from the original on March 10, 2007
  11. "Former Wash. Gov. Booth Gardner Dies". ABC News. Retrieved March 16, 2013.

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Booth Gardner at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
New office Executive of Pierce County
Succeeded by
Joe Stortini
Preceded by
John Spellman
Governor of Washington
Succeeded by
Mike Lowry
Preceded by
Terry Branstad
Chair of the National Governors Association
Succeeded by
John Ashcroft
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim McDermott
Democratic nominee for Governor of Washington
1984, 1988
Succeeded by
Mike Lowry