Locke portrait unveiled at capitol

Governor Chris Gregoire yesterday unveiled the official state portrait of former Governor Gary Locke in a presentation at the state capitol building.

Former two-term Governor Locke, joined by his wife Mona, and their children, Emily, Dylan and Madeline, participated in the ceremony in the Washington state reception room.

“I am proud to present this portrait to the people of Washington State,” said Gregoire. “It will hang in our capitol as a lasting symbol of Governor Locke’s deep commitment to the children, families and communities of our state.”

Governor Gary Locke, born in Seattle, Jan. 21, 1950, was elected Washington’s 21st governor on Nov. 5, 1996, becoming the first Chinese-American governor in U.S. history. On Nov. 7, 2000, Locke was re-elected to a second term.

Locke’s journey to the state capitol actually began more than 100 years ago when his grandfather came to Olympia as a teenager working as a houseboy for a local family.

“Being here is a source of pride for the entire Locke family,” Locke said. “Olympia holds a special place in our hearts – my grandfather got his start here, all three of our children were born here – and we were able to accomplish so much for the people of our state during my time in the Governor’s office, under really very adverse conditions. It was an incredible honor serving the people of our state. These are great memories that will stay with us forever.”

Before being elected Governor, Locke served as King County Executive from 1994 to 1997, taking on the issues and challenges facing Washington’s largest city. He reduced the county budget, expanded transit services and adopted a progressive growth management plan.

Locke served in the Washington State House of Representatives from 1983 to 1994, serving on the House Judiciary and Appropriations committees, and as chair of the Appropriations Committee for five years.

Sammamish artist Michele Rushworth painted the canvas portrait.