WA-List » State Governors: Ferry to Inslee

State Governors: Ferry to Inslee

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Politics & Government

It was once a classroom tradition to line the chalkboard with presidential portraits.  Memorizing the names and faces of America’s chief executives isn’t as common these days but it’s still more likely than listing or reciting the state governors.  With a new governor in Olympia this year, we thought it fitting to provide such a list.  (But we won’t make anyone memorize it!)

Jay Inslee (photo, right) took office as the state’s 23rd governor January 16.  He is also the fifth Democrat governor in a row — a 28 year streak that now surpasses the run of four consecutive Republicans in a 12 year period early last century (1901-13).  Historically, the Republicans still outnumber Democrats by a slim 12 to 10½.

Inslee, who is 62 years old following his birthday last weekend, was the third oldest governor on inauguration day in state history. Only Elisha P. Ferry (64) and Dixy Lee Ray (62) were older upon taking office.  Exactly half of his predecessors were in the their forties or — in the case of Dan Evans — thirties.  Today Evans is the oldest of seven living current or former governors.

And speaking of Ferry and Ray: They were both “firsts” for Washington.  Ferry (photo, left) was the first governor.  He had been a territorial governor in the 1870s but was called back to Olympia when Washington gained statehood in 1889.  Ray, our 17th executive, was our first female state executive. Recently retired Christine Gregoire was the second.

STATE GOVERNORS OF WASHINGTON

No. Governor Party Life Age when
taking office
Term  
1. Elisha P. Ferry Republican 1825-1895 64 1889 Nov 11 -1893 Jan 9
2. John McGraw Republican 1850-1910 42 1893 Jan 9 -1897 Jan 11
3. John Rogers Populist / Democrat 1838-1901 57 1897 Jan 11 -1901 Dec 26*
4. Henry McBride Republican 1856-1937 45 1901 Dec 26 -1905 Jan 9
5. Albert E. Mead Republican 1861-1913 43 1905 Jan 9 -1909 Jan 27
6. Samuel G. Cosgrove Republican 1847-1909 61 1909 Jan 27 -1909 Mar 28*
7. Marion E. Hay Republican 1865-1933 43 1909 Mar 28 -1913 Jan 11
8. Ernest Lister Democrat 1870-1919 42 1913 Jan 11 -1919 Feb 13*
9. Louis F. Hart Republican 1862-1929 57 1919 Feb 13 -1925 Jan 12
10. Roland H. Hartley Republican 1864-1952 60 1925 Jan 12 -1933 Jan 9
11. Clarence D. Martin Democrat 1887-1955 45 1933 Jan 9 -1941 Jan 13
12. Arthur B. Langlie Republican 1900-1966 40 1941 Jan 13 -1945 Jan 8
13. Monrad C. Wallgren Democrat 1891-1961 53 1945 Jan 8 -1949 Jan 12
14. Arthur B. Langlie Republican ** 48 1949 Jan 12 -1957 Jan 14
15. Albert D. Rosellini Democrat 1910-2011 46 1957 Jan 14 -1965 Jan 11
16. Daniel J. Evans Republican 1925- 39 1965 Jan 11 -1977 Jan 12
17. Dixy Lee Ray Democrat 1914-1994 62 1977 Jan 12 -1981 Jan 14
18. John D. Spellman Republican 1926- 54 1981 Jan 24 -1985 Jan 16
19. Booth Gardner Democrat 1936-2013 48 1985 Jan 16 -1993 Jan 13
20. Mike Lowry Democrat 1939- 53 1993 Jan 13 -1997 Jan 15
21. Gary Locke Democrat 1950- 46 1997 Jan 15 -2005 Jan 12
22. Christine Gregoire Democrat 1947- 57 2005 Jan 12 -2013 Jan
23. Jay Inslee Democrat 1951- 61 2013 Jan 16

*died in office
**Arthur Langlie was the Grover Cleveland of Washington: the only executive to serve two non-consecutive terms. He was the 12th and 14th governor. We listed his birth and death years only once.

UPDATE: Since this list was first published, we have edited it to include a death date for Booth Gardner.

PHOTOS:  Jay Inslee’s photo courtesy the Office of the Governor. Elisha P. Ferry’s photo is in the public domain.

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