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Former Washington Governor Mike Lowry dead at 78

Former Governor Mike Lowry delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature in Olympia, Jan. 9, 1996. On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee confirmed Lowry died. (AP Photo/Louie Balukoff)

Former Washington state Governor Mike Lowry has died.

Governor Jay Inslee’s office confirmed Lowry, 78, passed away on Monday.

Lowry, a Democrat, served as the 20th governor of Washington state for one term, from 1993 to 1997. Before that, he served on the King County Council and later as a representative of the 7th Congressional District.

Lowry was born and raised in St. John Washington and graduated from Washington State University in 1962.

According to the governor’s office, Lowry’s initial legislation in the U.S. Congress was the nation’s first to provide restitution for more than 110,000 Japanese Americans and Aleuts interned in prison camps during World War II. He also fought to uphold century-old Indian treaties and Supreme Court decisions to protect Indian fishing rights. He was the leader to the passage of the Washington Wilderness Act.

In 1989 he founded and co-chaired the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition with former Governor Dan Evans.

While Governor, Lowry emphasized healthcare, welfare policies, and supportive housing. In 1995, called a special session to secure funding for what is now Safeco Field.

“Mike led efforts in the 1990s to provide health care for all Washingtonians, and his work lives on today through coverage for low-to-moderate income families,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “After he left public service, Mike continued to be a force for good through his involvement in many nonprofit organizations and charitable causes, including those delivering services to the homeless and providing housing for migrant workers.

“Mike will be missed, and I know all Washingtonians join me in keeping him and his family in our hearts.”

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