First Attorney General
“The Year of the Woman (1992) is
about change; women do represent
change. But we have a long way to go.”
- Christine Gregoire
With sights set on the Washington Attorney General’s Office, a sophisticated and
articulate Christine Gregoire encountered a man on the campaign trail who doubted
a woman could handle the job. “No, no. Women should not be generals,” he told her.
But voters disagreed and sent her to the Attorney General’s Office in the “Year
of the Woman,” the 1992 election cycle that brought women into American politics
with a force.
Known for her smarts and her lucid style, Washington’s top lawyer negotiated a substantial
settlement with the tobacco industry in 1997 that prohibited the industry from marketing
tobacco products to young people.
Also during her tenure, the Attorney General’s Office appeared before the U.S. Supreme
Court multiple times. In one case, the Court upheld Washington’s controversial ban
on physician-assisted suicide.
The Democrat grew up on a modest farm in Auburn, Washington where she learned to appreciate the importance of an education. Gregoire went on to earn a teaching certificate and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, and a law degree from Gonzaga Law School.
She met her future husband, Mike Gregoire, in 1971. They married and raised two
daughters, Courtney and Michelle.
Gregoire launched her legal career in 1977 as an Assistant Attorney General and
quickly climbed the ranks to Deputy Attorney General. In 1988, Gregoire took over
the Department of Ecology as Director.
Gregoire served three terms as Attorney General before making a run at the Governor’s
Office in 2004. The grueling match between Gregoire and Dino Rossi, a former State
Senator, resulted in the closest gubernatorial election in Washington State history.
She defeated Rossi in a 2008 rematch by a wider margin.
Gregoire, who lives in Olympia, is a breast cancer survivor. “I can say that from
personal experience. Early detection saved my life,” Gregoire once said of her full
recovery. Saluting fellow cancer survivors, Gregoire declared “… Our mothers and
grandmothers …our daughters and nieces … our friends, and the woman down the street,
God bless and keep you all.”