Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton dies at 92

Pictured left to right: Former Congressman Dave Reichert, Slade Gorton, and King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn visit Washington, D.C., to testify in favor of the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area designation. Courtesy photo

Pictured left to right: Former Congressman Dave Reichert, Slade Gorton, and King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn visit Washington, D.C., to testify in favor of the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area designation. Courtesy photo

Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton died Aug. 19 in Seattle at age 92.

Gorton’s political career spanned 40 years in Washington state and Washington, D.C. He won his first legislative seat in 1958 soon after arriving in Seattle. Starting in 1968, he served three terms as the state’s attorney general, during which he broke with fellow Republicans in publicly calling for President Nixon’s resignation, according to the Associated Press.

Gorton was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980, running as a Republican against legendary Democratic Sen. Warren Magnuson. Gorton’s electoral career ended in 2000 with a razor-thin loss to Maria Cantwell, a Democratic state lawmaker from Edmonds.

Gorton has been described as a cerebral and principled leader. He demonstrated absolute command of the granular knowledge of electoral politics.

“He could drive around Washington state and off the top of his head tell you what precinct you were in and how they voted in an election,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “I think his brain really worked like a computer.”

His intellectual capacity extended into every nook of policy-making he entered.

“He won so many things on the details,” said Bill McSherry, a Boeing Co. executive who worked on Gorton’s 1994 campaign and then four-plus years on his staff.

Local leaders felt that Gorton was vested in the kitchen table issues affecting the masses, like how long it might take to get to and from work and how to ease that commute.

“His legacy and hallmark was the ability to reach consensus and reach across the aisle, something I think we are missing today on all sides,” said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring, who’s also chairman of the Mainstream Republicans of Washington. “It’s something we can learn from Slade’s life and try to recapture that.”

In a statement, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn said he will remember Gorton’s work in preserving the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

“Slade Gorton was a political giant whose magnanimity shone through until his final days” Dunn wrote. “He was one of the greatest minds to have ever served Washington State in elected office, and the significance of his life’s work will be felt long beyond his time on Earth.”

On Aug. 11, with Gorton hospitalized and unable to have visitors due to COVID, alums of Team Gorton gathered on Zoom to collectively record their personal goodbye messages.

In the course of three hours, 80 people spoke of the values and lessons imparted from the man they considered a mentor not a boss.

“Contrary to the stereotype, he was one of the ultimate people persons that I’ve ever met,” McSherry. “Every interaction with Slade was a teaching opportunity and a learning opportunity.”

This report contains information compiled from the Associated Press and the Everett Herald.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@covingtonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.covingtonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Surge in consumer spending eases state budget challenges

A jump in tax collections cuts a projected $9 billion shortfall in half, acccording to new forecast.

Screenshot from fredhutch.org
Fred Hutch seeks volunteers of color for COVID-19 study

Research company recently released a Spanish-language version of the website for accessibility, inclusivity.

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

Virtual town halls coming up for unincorporated King County

Events throughout September and October via Zoom will cater to different areas of the region.

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

King County moves to Stage 2 burn ban

Outdoor fires, even barbecues or in fire pits, are now prohibited.

Screenshot of the air quality monitor at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8. Courtesy Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
King County faces unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke

Weather monitors recommend people limit time outdoors, especially children, seniors and those with heart or lung disease.

Image courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Massive wildfires incinerate WA

All state Department of Natural Resources lands were closed to recreational activities on Sept. 8.

I-5 closures near Federal Way this week for Sound Transit construction

Two lanes of I-5 will be closed overnight Sept. 9 and 10.

Constantine announces King County climate action plan

Plots an example of decreased stormwater pollution, urban flooding prevention, immigrant connections

The YMCA of Greater Seattle opened its King County branches to provide child care centers dedicated to serving the families of essential workers. Courtesy photo
COVID continues to whittle away at child care in Washington

It’s estimated that 25% of Washington child care facilities have closed since the pandemic began.