Senator Murray Statement on the Passing of Former Washington State Senator Slade Gorton

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the statement below following the death of former U.S. Senator Thomas ‘Slade’ Gorton III, who served as Washington state’s senior Senator from 1981-1987, and 1989-2001.

“Senator Gorton was a distinguished Washingtonian and steadfast leader to whom our state owes a tremendous debt. I was privileged to serve with Slade when I first came to the United State Senate, and even though we did not agree on every issue, we made a great team when it came to advancing the interests of people and families in Washington state. We partnered together many times over the years to strengthen federal Hanford clean-up efforts, toughen pipeline safety standards and ease congestion issues in Puget Sound, as well as to expand health care for children, address critical issues regarding people living with autism and more. I’ll always cherish our collaboration and what we were able to achieve together on behalf of Washington state—as well as the memories from our friendly, yet competitive, annual staff softball game.

“Moreover, I will always remember and respect how Slade anchored his leadership in honesty and honor: whether it was doggedly standing up to his own party to help save the National Endowment for the Arts, or working in a bipartisan spirit to help the Senate uphold its integrity during the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial, or most recently being one of few Republicans to hold President Trump and his party accountable for their efforts to subvert our democracy. Throughout his career in both Washingtons, Slade defied convenient labels and stood on principle—we need more leaders in our country like Slade.

“Slade reflected the best of our state and leaves behind a legacy that is mirrored in the scores of former staffers and other professional men and women who have been mentored by him, who are now spread throughout our state and nation, working to change lives and make our communities a better place—like they learned from Slade. My thoughts and sincere condolences are with Slade’s family during this difficult time, as well as all those who loved him. He was a colleague and friend who did so much for our state, and while his contributions won’t soon be forgotten, he will be incredibly missed.”