[INTERVIEW] Gary Locke & His Immigrants Parents
- Governor Gary Locke
Gary Locke was elected Washington's 21st governor on Nov. 5, 1996,
making him the first Chinese-American governor in U.S. history. As
governor, he has worked to make Washington public schools the best
in the nation, promote jobs and economic development in rural and
urban areas, and fight juvenile crime.
Q.What skills do you think young people need to succeed in life?
A. I have always believed that education is the great equalizer. You
do not have to be wealthy or to have any special advantages to
succeed in our country if you get a good education, work hard, and
continue to update your education and skills throughout your life.
And the most important skills are to be able to read, to analyze
what you read, and to be able to think. If you apply those skills to
any challenge you face, and if you work hard and never give up, you
will succeed in life. I also think it is important to always think
of ways to help others. Learn to be a caring person. Learn to put
others before yourself. Believe it or not, that is a skill.
Q. In this high-tech world, what¡¦s the most important aspect of
A. There are two aspects: reading and critical thinking. No matter
how advanced our technology becomes, you will still need those two
basic skills to succeed.
Q. Who was the biggest influence in your life? Why?
A. My parents when I was growing up, and my wife and children today.
My dad and mom worked seven days a week in a small business in
Seattle so that their children could know a better life. They taught
us the values of education and hard work. My wife, Mona, is one of
the smartest kindest people I know. My daughter, Emily, and my son,
Dylan, teach me something every day. Watching them grow and change
and learn is the most exciting experience I have ever had.
Q. What¡¦s the toughest part of your job?
A. A governor will always disappoint someone because you cannot make
decisions that please everyone. But I am an optimist and I like
people, so I always look for ways to reach consensus and move
Q. How did you deal with temptations facing teens and young people
when you were that age?
A. Luckily, my parents are honest, hard-working, caring and
wonderful role models. Unfortunately, they also worked seven days a
week. So when I did face temptations, I was fortunate to be able to
turn to mentors I met through the Boy Scouts and YMCA programs for
additional support and guidance.
Q. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would
it be and why?
A. I would love to have an in-depth chat with John F. Kennedy or
Martin Luther King because I could learn so much. Both men were
assassinated early in life. Both had so much more to offer our
nation and world.
Q. When you were a teenager, what place in the world did you most
want to visit, and have you traveled there yet? Was it as wonderful
as you thought it would be? Why or why not?
A. Growing up, I had always dreamed of visiting China because that
is where my father was born. After I became governor in 1997, I was
able to travel with my entire family back to my dad¡¦s village in
China. It meant so much to me to be able to trace my roots. And, we
were overwhelmed by the favorable welcome by the Chinese people.
Governor Gary Locke