Booth Gardner Edit Profile
Bachelor in Business, University Washington, 1958. Master of Business Administration, Harvard University, 1963.
He also served as the ambassador of the GATT. He was a Democrat. Before serving as governor, Gardner served in the Washington State Senate and was Pierce County Executive. His service was notable for advancing standards-based education and environmental protection.
Gardner’s parents divorced when he was very young. Gardner was a graduate of the University of Washington and Harvard Business School. In 1976, he owned the Tacoma Tides in its one year in the American Soccer League.
In 1978 he co-owned the Colorado Caribous franchise in the NASL with Jim Guercio. In the 1984 Democratic primary for Washington state governor, Gardner defeated Jim McDermott. In the general election he unseated Republican incumbent, John Spellman.
Gardner was easily elected to a second term in 1988. He chose not to seek a third term. While governor, Gardner signed into law a health care program that provided state medical insurance for the working poor.
He helped develop land-use and growth-management policies that made Washington an early environmental leader, he steered hundreds of millions of dollars of increased spending toward state universities, increased standardized testing in public education, and improved legal protections for gay people. In 1994, one year after his retirement, Gardner was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. In 2006 he announced his support for assisted suicide.
In 2008 he filed and successfully spearheaded the campaign for Initiative 1000, Washington's Death With Dignity Act, which was closely modeled on Oregon's assisted dying law. He remained involved in implementing the Act. Gardner said that he supported going even further than the current Washington and Oregon laws, to eventually permit lethal prescriptions for people whose suffering is unbearable without the requirement that the sufferer have a terminal condition.
In 2009, The Last Campaign of Booth Gardner, a short documentary film, was produced by Just Media and HBO, chronicling the Initiative 1000 campaign. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Gardner supported eliminating Washington's WASL test, a standardized test that was required to graduate high school.
It was replaced in 2009 by the MSP for grades three through eight and the HSPE for grades eight through twelve. Gardner died at his home in Tacoma, Washington on March 15, 2013, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 76.
Co-founder Central Area Youth Association Seattle. Chairman emeritus Northwest Parkinson's Foundation, Municipal Golf Club Seattle. Member advisory council Casey Foundation.
Trustee University Puget Sound. Member of National Governors Association (former chairman), Western Governors Association (chairman 1987-1988).
Married Jean Gardner. Children: Doug, Gail.
1966 - 1967
1967 - 1972
1970 - 1973
1972 - 1980
1981 - 1984
1985 - 1993
1994 - 1998