Gov. Chris Gregoire

Governor of Washington

Chris O’Grady was raised in by her mother, who worked as a short-order cook. After graduating from Auburn High School, Chris became the first person in her family to go to college, entering the University of Washington and graduating with a teaching certificate and Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and sociology. She began her career in state service as a clerk/typist, and met her husband Mike in September 1971, when they both worked for the Washington Department of Social and Health Services. Chris received her law degree in 1977 from Gonzaga University.

Beginning in 1992, Washingtonians elected her State Attorney General for three terms. In that role, she was instrumental in negotiating a national settlement with tobacco companies over the health impacts of their products.

As Washington’s 22nd governor, Chris Gregoire has combined effective leadership with a tireless work ethic, helping to pass the historic Transportation Partnership Act road and transit construction package, reducing class sizes in Washington schools, creating the Department of Early Learning, and championing the Life Sciences Discovery Fund.

This year, facing continued budget shortfalls during the worst economic crisis Washington state has experienced in 80 years, Gov. Gregoire challenged the Legislature to be bold and transform state government. She proposed, and the Legislature passed, the Launch Year Act, which will help all Washington students make their senior year in high school their first year of college study or career training. Other major accomplishments included the most significant reforms in the workers compensation program in a century, unemployment insurance reform, and the consolidation of state office support programs in the Department of Enterprise Services.

Chris and Mike have two daughters, Courtney and Michelle.

Got a tip?

Do you have info to share with HuffPost reporters? Here’s how.