History

Lieutenant Governors of the State of Washington

The Lieutenant Governor of Washington is the President of the Senate, and serves the state as acting governor in the absence of the Governor. The Lieutenant Governor, first in line of ascension, is elected to a four-year term, which coincides with the terms of the President of the United States.

Since the beginning of statehood, 15 officials have served in this important state office. Three have ascended on the death of the elected Governor.
Before Washington became a state on November 11, 1889, ten men served as Territorial Secretary of State and held the responsibility to act in the absence of the elected governor, but did not have right of ascension.
Below are the people who have served during the history of the Office of Lieutenant Governor:

Brad Owen – Democrat (1997-2017)

Born in Tacoma on May 23, 1950, Owen served four years as Finance Commissioner for the City of Shelton, six years in the House of Representatives and fourteen years in the Washington State Senate, prior to his 1996 election to the office of Lieutenant Governor. A prominent member of his community, Owen was a small businessman for twenty-two years. Lt. Gov. Owen has dedicated his term of service to providing leadership in the field of public health and safety, with an emphasis on substance abuse and prevention. He is the chair of Washington State Mentors, as well as the chair of the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations. He serves on the advisory board for the Drug Free America Foundation. He has conducted many foreign trade and goodwill missions and promotes stronger ties among Washington State’s economic and international communities.

Joel Pritchard – Republican (served 1989-1997)

Born in Seattle on May 5, 1925, Pritchard was a State Representative for eight years and a State Senator for four years. He served 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and was a U.S. Delegate to the General Assembly, United Nations. Pritchard was also President of a Seattle envelope manufacturing company.

John A. Cherberg – Democrat (served 1957-1989)

Born in Pensacola, Florida on October 17, 1910, Cherberg was a teacher, football coach and television executive in Washington State before his election. He retired after serving eight consecutive terms, 32 years, the longest tenure as Lieutenant Governor of any state in history. Cherberg was a resident of Seattle.

Emmett T. Anderson – Republican (served 1953-1957)

Born in Tacoma on January 17, 1890, Anderson was a printer before his election. Active in civic and fraternal affairs, he was Past Exalted Ruler of Elks in his hometown of Tacoma.

Victor A. Meyers – Democrat (served 1933-1953)

Born in Little Falls, Montana on September 7, 1898, Meyers, of Seattle, was an orchestra leader. He served as Lieutenant Governor for 20 years and as Secretary of State for eight years (1957-1965).

John Arthur Gellatly – Republican (served 1929-1933)

Born in Grass Valley, California on July 6, 1869, Gellatly was a prominent citizen of Wenatchee before his election to one term as Lieutenant Governor.

W. Lon Johnson – Republican (served1925-1929)

Born in Ozark Mountains, Missouri on November 11, 1882, Johnson was elected to the Washington State Senate from Stevens and Pend Oreille Counties, 1919-1924. After serving one term as Lieutenant Governor he was elected Superior Court Judge.

William (Wee) J. Coyle – Republican (served 1921-1925)

Born in Sutter Creek, California on March 18, 1888, Coyle was a lawyer and business man. The Seattle resident served for 15 years as manager of the Seattle Civic Auditorium.

Louis F. Hart – Republican (served 1913-February 1919)

Born in High Point, Missouri on January 4, 1862, Hart, attorney, was twice elected to the office of Lieutenant Governor. When Governor Ernest Lister died in February 1919, Hart completed the term and was then elected to a four-year term.

Marion E. Hay – Republican (served 1909-March 1909)

Born in Adams County, Wisconsin on December 8, 1865, Hay was a Spokane merchant and landowner. He became Governor of Washington after only a few months as Lieutenant Governor upon the death of Governor Samuel G. Cosgrove.

Charles E. Coon – Republican (served 1905-1909)

Born in Allegheny County, New York on March 15, 1842, Coon was a federal and civic official. He served for a time as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and Mayor of Port Townsend. He also was elected to the House of Representatives from Jefferson County in 1919.

Henry McBride – Republican (elected 1901, served until December 1901)

Born in Farmington, Utah on February 7, 1856, the teacher and lawyer was the first Lieutenant Governor to succeed when Governor John R. Rogers died December 1901. The LaConner resident served as Superior Court Judge for Skagit and Island Counties.

Thurston Daniels – Populist (served 1897-1901)

Born in North Yamhill, Oregon on June 10, 1859, Daniels was an editor and publisher. A resident of Vancouver, he served as State Senator from Clark County.

F. H. Luce – Republican (served 1893-1897)

Born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on May 23, 1859, Luce was a doctor, lawyer and banker. The Davenport resident served as State Senator from Lincoln, Okanogan, Franklin and Adams Counties.

Charles E. Laughton – Republican (served 1889-1893)

Born in Penobscot County, Maine on June 4, 1846, Laughton, a lawyer, served one term as Lieutenant Governor of Nevada (1882-1886). The Okanogan resident was a Representative from Stevens, Okanogan and Spokane Counties before his election to Lieutenant Governor.