Mike Lowry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mike Lowry
Michael E. Lowry.jpg
20th Governor of Washington
In office
January 13, 1993 – January 15, 1997
LieutenantJoel Pritchard
Preceded byBooth Gardner
Succeeded byGary Locke
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1989
Preceded byJack Cunningham
Succeeded byJim McDermott
Personal details
Michael Edward Lowry

(1939-03-08)March 8, 1939
St. John, Washington, U.S.
DiedMay 1, 2017(2017-05-01) (aged 78)
Olympia, Washington, U.S.
Resting placeBethel Cemetery
Steptoe, Washington
Political partyDemocratic
Mary Lowry
(m. 1968; his death 2017)
EducationWashington State University (BA)
Lowry in 2009

Michael Edward Lowry (March 8, 1939 – May 1, 2017) was an American Democratic politician who served as the 20th governor of the U.S. state of Washington from 1993 to 1997. His political career ended abruptly following a sexual misconduct allegation made against him by his deputy press secretary, Susanne Albright.[1] Lowry served as a United States Representative from Washington's 7th congressional district from 1979 to 1989.

Early life[edit]

Lowry was born and raised in St. John, Washington, son of Helen (nee White) and Robert Lowry.[2] He graduated from Washington State University in 1962.

Political career[edit]

Lowry had a brief career working for the Washington State Senate and as a lobbyist for Group Health Cooperative before being elected to the King County Council in 1975. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Washington's Seventh Congressional District in 1978, where he served until 1989.

Lowry twice ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate. In a 1983 special election, he was defeated by Republican former Governor Dan Evans, then an appointed Senator and the incumbent, in a race to replace Democrat Henry "Scoop" Jackson, and in 1988 he lost to Slade Gorton, also a Republican, in a close race. Lowry then began working at Seattle University and an environmental group.[3]

Governor of Washington[edit]

Lowry was elected governor in 1992 and served for a single term (to date, he is the last governor of Washington state to serve only one term). His principal policy initiative was a statewide system of health insurance with premiums based on ability to pay. He chose not to run for reelection due to a sexual harassment scandal in which his deputy press secretary, Susanne Albright, accused him of making inappropriate remarks and fondling her.[4] He was an unsuccessful candidate for Commissioner of Public Lands in 2000. More recently, Lowry was active in building affordable housing for Washington's migrant farm workers.


Lowry died on May 1, 2017 from complications of a stroke at the age of 78.[5][6]

Comparison to Yasser Arafat[edit]

During his career, Mike Lowry was repeatedly compared to Yasser Arafat by both media and political opponents in the state of Washington, due to a perceived similarity in physical appearance between the two. According to some reports, Lowry shaved off a beard he formerly sported specifically to avoid comparisons to the Palestinian leader.[7][8][9][10]


  1. ^ "Former Washington Gov. Mike Lowry dies at age 78". KING. Retrieved 2018-09-22.
  2. ^ http://www.historylink.org/File/8600
  3. ^ The Associated Press (5 May 2017). "Mike Lowry, Ex-Congressman and Washington State Governor, Dies at 78". The New York Times. p. A24. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Governor Is Settling Harassment Charges". New York Times. 1995-07-15. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  5. ^ "Former Washington Gov. Mike Lowry has died". The Seattle Times. 2017-05-01. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  6. ^ "Mike Lowry, proudly progressive ex-governor, dies early on May Day". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 2017-05-01. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  7. ^ "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow? To Shave or Not to Shave, That's the Question". Associated Press. 27 April 1989. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  8. ^ Ferguson, Adele (12 June 2008). "Governor gabfest brings back memories". Port Orchard Independent. Retrieved 19 September 2014.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Brus, Michael (9 August 2001). "Beards Why are they such a turnoff?". Slate. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  10. ^ Hughes, John (2011). Slade Gorton: A Half-Century in Politics. Olympia, Washington: Washington State Legacy Project. p. 240. ISBN 978-1889320243.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jack Cunningham
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jim McDermott
Party political offices
Preceded by
Henry M. Jackson
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Washington
(Class 1)

1983, 1988
Succeeded by
Ron Sims
Preceded by
Booth Gardner
Democratic nominee for Governor of Washington
Succeeded by
Gary Locke
Political offices
Preceded by
Booth Gardner
Governor of Washington
Succeeded by
Gary Locke