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Print Print Patty Murray Photo courtesy of
Senator Patty Murray’s Office

Patty Murray
First U.S. Senator
1993-Present

“Just a mom in tennis shoes.”

- Patty Murray

“I think I speak for all of us,” a passionate Patty Murray once told a rousing crowd of women. “We got into the U.S. Senate because we were mad.”

Murray’s story is legendary. With two kids in tow, a pre-school teacher arrived at the State Capitol Building determined to save an educational program from budget cuts when a fateful moment unfolded: “You can’t make a difference,” she was told.

The demeaning comment launched one of the most effective campaign slogans in Washington State history. Murray emerged as the “mom in tennis shoes.”

Born October 11, 1950, in Bothell, Washington, Patty Murray grew up as one of seven children. She graduated from Washington State University in 1972.

Murray started her professional career as a teacher. After organizing parents by the thousands to rescue a vulnerable pre-school program, Murray served on the School Board. In 1988, she made a run for the State Senate. Four years later, Murray laced those famous tennis shoes and ran for the U.S. Senate.

In the historic election year of 1992, Murray – along with a host of American women across the nation — got the job. She defeated Republican Rod Chandler, a ten-year member of the U.S. House.

In the U.S. Senate, Murray co-authored the sweeping Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Impassioned by the legacy of her father, a World War II hero, Murray also ranks as the first woman to sit on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. She dedicates her time to assisting victims of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by ensuring they receive adequate care when they return home.

The Washington native is the first woman to lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and serves as an Appropriations Sub-Committee Chair.

Murray and her husband have two children and one grandchild.

  • In the 1980s, Murray organized 13,000 parents to save a Washington preschool program from budget cuts.
  • With famous sneakers and plain talk, Murray clinched a U.S. Senate seat in 1992, the landmark "Year of the Woman."
  • The U.S. Senator co-authored the sweeping Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
  • Impassioned by the legacy of her father, a World War II hero, Murray ranks as the first woman to sit on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
  • Murray is also the first woman to lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and serves as an Appropriations Sub-Committee chair.