Column: Slade Gorton, not such a bad guy after all?

"Slade Gorton spent most of his last Senate term demonizing "urban environmentalists," championing rural interests, trying to remove obstacles from a gold mine in Okanogan County and working with timber lobbyists to change the Endangered Species Act.

At the same time, he was instrumental in securing more than $60 million to protect land along the Mountains to Sound Greenway, from wildlife habitat on the Yakima River to old-growth forests up the Cle Elum River valley.

As a three-term (1969-81) state attorney general, Gorton was in office as large numbers of female attorneys began to emerge from Northwest law schools.

Initially, many of the women were given a cold shoulder by established law firms in Seattle and other cities.

The attorney general recognized the talent pool, hired the women and gave them major responsibilities. One notable Gorton-era hire was a young Gonzaga Law School grad named Christine Gregoire.

Although a member of the Senate Republican leadership, Gorton had to excuse himself from caucus meetings.

Why? Republican senators were plotting how to block tighter fuel efficiency standards for new cars and SUVs. Gorton just happened to be a major sponsor of legislation mandating higher mileage requirements and that a gas-guzzling Detroit change the way it did business."

Get the Story:
Joel Connelly: What will they say about Gorton now? (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 5/17)

Related Stories:
Gorton blocked Reagan's cut to urban Indian health (03/03)
Slade Gorton: Don't recognize Native Hawaiians (08/19)
Washington tribes work to increase voter turnout (11/01)
Slade Gorton still rallying cry for Native voters (03/09)