Dixy Lee Ray

“The governor, as a single individual, stands out and is therefore held responsible for everything—even things that don’t come under your jurisdiction at all. You’re dealing with problems on a daily basis that are very intractable. Many of them don’t really have solutions and yet you have to do everything you can and some progress can be made.”

Dixy Lee Ray served as Washington’s governor from 1977 to 1981.

With a Ph.D. in biology from  Stanford University, she taught at the University of Washington before becoming  the first woman to head the Atomic Energy Commission in 1973. A nominal Democrat with no prior political experience, “The extraordinary lady from Fox Island,” as her campaign literature called her, won the governorship with a low-budget campaign that emphasized her populist roots, quick wit, and outsider status.

Useful Links:

The Washington State Heritage Center http://www.sos.wa.gov/heritage/biographies/DixyLeeRay.aspx

History Link: Dixy Lee Ray http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=5611

National Governors Association http://www.nga.org/cms/render/live/en/sites/NGA/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_washington/col2-content/main-content-list/title_ray_dixy.html


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