Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement regarding the passing of former Governor Booth Gardner.
"Booth Gardner was an incredible human being and governor.
"He ran for governor saying he wanted to focus on education and he meant it. He spent 8 years as governor and the rest of his life fighting for education reform. He championed fair measurements for educational progress and he fought to make sure all students achieved academic success.
"He was a politician with a personal touch. He also knew how to make everyone in a crowded room feel special. He touched the hearts of all Washingtonians when he told the son of a Western Washington University administrator at his parent's funeral "I lost my mom too. I never got to say goodbye.'
"He was a leader who also had an incredible sense of self-deprecating humor. He could take a 45 minute speech and turn it into mostly humor, but spend the last three minutes about education reform, the environment or job creation.
"Booth believed in Washington's economic future. He championed research and life sciences, and he attracted lots of political talent.
"Booth Gardner created the Growth Strategies Commission and delivered his State of the State address saying "Environmentalists make great ancestors.' He didn't come from a political family but he had old fashioned political skills, loyalty, building unity among coalitions and campaigning for those who shared his agenda.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Booth Gardner's stewardship and friendship put his stamp on Washington state and we are all the better for it."