Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) 10th Annual Gala Dinner In celebration of a Decade of Firsts, May 6, 2004


Gary Locke was elected Washington 's 21st governor on November. 5, 1996, making him the first Chinese American governor in U.S. history, and the first Asian Pacific Islander American governor elected on the U.S. mainland. On November. 7, 2000, Locke, won election to a second term. As a member of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), Locke was elected Chair of the DGA for 2003 becoming the first Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) to attain that position. In 2003, he was selected by Democratic Congressional leaders to deliver the Democratic response to the President's State of the Union Address to Congress becoming the first APIA to do so.

As governor, Locke works to make Washington a better place to live, work and raise a family by:

  • Promoting excellence in education.
  • Strengthening the economy and creating jobs.
  • Protecting families.
  • Enhancing the environment.
  • Advocating and modeling responsible government.

Born into an immigrant family on January 21, 1950, Locke spent his first six years in Seattle 's Yesler Terrace, a public housing project for families of World War II veterans. He worked in his father's grocery store, became an Eagle Scout and graduated with honors from Seattle 's Franklin High School in 1968. Through a combination of part-time jobs, financial aid and scholarships, Locke attended Yale University , earning a bachelor's degree in political science in 1972.

After receiving his law degree from Boston University in 1975, he worked for several years as a deputy prosecutor in King County , prosecuting felony crimes. In 1982, Locke was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives, where he served on the House Judiciary and Appropriations committees, with his final five years spent as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Prior to being elected governor, Locke served as chief executive of King County in 1993 and took on the issues and challenges facing Washington 's largest city and this nation's thirteenth largest county.

Locke and his wife, Mona Lee Locke, a former reporter for the NBC affiliate KING 5 television in Seattle , were married October 15, 1994. The Locke's have two children - Emily, born in March 1997, and Dylan, born in March 1999.