Photo courtesy of
Senator Patty Murray’s Office
First U.S. Senator
“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.