Former two-term Washington Gov. Booth Gardner has died after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 76. Family spokesman Ron Dotzauer says Gardner died Friday night in his Tacoma home.
Washington lawmakers offered their condolences:
Sen. Patty Murray
I am deeply saddened today by the passing of Booth Gardner. Booth was a leader of tremendous compassion, dignity, and bravery whose service to our state will live on far into the future. He was generous in sharing his wisdom and his time, and I will never forget the lessons he taught me when I was just beginning my political career in Olympia many years ago.
I learned so much from Booth because he was a man that led by example. He demonstrated that governing is about the people you serve - and serve with - by learning everyone's name, what issues they cared deeply about, and by taking the time to work with anyone that shared his desire to make Washington state a better place to live. Booth also showed that compromise and compassion were not competing ideals by being pragmatic when he needed to be, but by always working to protect the needs of the most vulnerable.
Booth's imprint on our state will long be seen in our classrooms and the many open spaces he fought to protect. Up until the very end of his life Booth remained a fighter for the issues he cared most about -- those of us who knew him couldn't have imagined it any other way. My thoughts and prayers are with his family today. I will miss Booth
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA):
Booth Gardner was an incredible human being and governor. He ran for governor saying he wanted to focus on education and he meant it. He spent 8 years as governor and the rest of his life fighting for education reform. He championed fair measurements for educational progress and he fought to make sure all students achieved academic success.
He was a politician with a personal touch. He also knew how to make everyone in a crowded room feel special. He touched the hearts of all Washingtonians when he told the son of a Western Washington University administrator at his parent's funeral 'I lost my mom too. I never got to say goodbye.'
He was a leader who also had an incredible sense of self-deprecating humor. He could take a 45 minute speech and turn it into mostly humor, but spend the last three minutes about education reform, the environment or job creation.
Booth believed in Washington's economic future. He championed research and life sciences, and he attracted lots of political talent.
Booth Gardner created the Growth Strategies Commission and delivered his State of the State address saying 'Environmentalists make great ancestors.' He didn't come from a political family but he had old fashioned political skills, loyalty, building unity among coalitions and campaigning for those who shared his agenda.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Booth Gardner's stewardship and friendship put his stamp on Washington state and we are all the better for it.
Governor Jay Inslee
Trudi and I send our condolences to the Gardner family and the tens of thousands of people around Washington who considered the governor their friend.
Booth Gardner was one of the great leaders of our state. He served us all with the highest standards and with never-ending humanity.
He helped prepared Washington for the 21st Century. His accomplishments are immense - from creating the Basic Health Plan to enacting the Growth Management Act - and he touched every part of life in our state.
Booth made a personal connection with everyone he met - from children visiting the capital to the lawmakers he persuaded to always act for the greater good of Washington.
When I was a young legislator, he showed me great kindness and helped me learn what it means to serve. I'll always be personally indebted to him.
After his life of public service, Booth was open with us about his health. And he led us to a respectful discussion about the dignity of life and death.
We will all miss Booth and I know all Washingtonians join me today in saying we will keep him and his family in our hearts.
King County Executive Dow Constantine
Washington state has lost a great leader, and its people have lost a great friend with the passing of Governor Booth Gardner.
Governor Gardner was known as a man who could talk to anyone, because he treated everyone the same way-like a fellow human being.
His two terms in office are best remembered for the major steps forward our state took in how we educate our children, how we protect the environment, and how we care for the less fortunate in our society.
Booth was that rare political leader who was liked by both his allies and his adversaries. He will be greatly missed.
Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy
It is with a heavy heart that we say good-bye to one of Pierce County's favorite sons. We have only had five elected executives in Pierce County, and Booth will always occupy an important place in our history. He faced an extraordinary task in setting up the new governance during tumultuous times in our community. Those skills served him and the citizens of Washington very well as he moved to the Governor's Office.
My husband John and I knew Booth for about 30 years. He was a great mentor and advisor to many of our local leaders. Booth encouraged me to run for County Executive, and I will be forever grateful for his guidance. He will be missed. The entire Pierce County family offers its condolences to the Gardner family.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn:
Booth Gardner was a compassionate and thoughtful man. His strong values of fairness and equality led him in his decades-long work to improve our health care and education systems. Washington State is a better place because of his leadership. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.