Slade Gorton, a Washington Republican who in three nonconsecutive terms in the Senate championed his state’s logging, aviation and technology industries and feuded with Native American tribes over fishing rights and sovereignty in the casino age, died on Wednesday August 19 2020 at his daughter Sarah’s home in the Seattle area. He was 92.
J. Vander Stoep, who served as Mr. Gorton’s chief of staff in the Senate, said the cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease.
A Senator from Washington; born in Chicago, Cook County, Ill., January 8, 1928; attended public schools in Evanston, Ill.; graduated, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., 1950, Columbia University Law School, New York City 1953; served in the United States Army 1945-1946, United States Air Force, lieutenant, 1953-1956, United States Air Force Reserve, colonel, 1956-1980; admitted to the Washington State bar in 1953 and commenced practice in Seattle; served in the Washington State house of representatives 1959-1969, majority leader 1967-1969; Washington State attorney general 1969-1981; member, Presidents Consumer Advisory Council 1975-1977; member, Washington State Law and Justice Commission 1969-1980; member, State Criminal Justice Training Commission 1969-1980; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1980, and served from January 3, 1981, to January 3, 1987; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1986; resumed the practice of law; elected again as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1988; reelected in 1994 and served from January 3, 1989, to January 3, 2001; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 2000; member, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (9-11 Commission) 2003-2004.
In 1958, he married Sally Jean Clark. She died in 2013. His survivors include their three children, Thomas Gorton, Sarah Nortz and Rebecca Gorton; his brothers, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton and Mike Gorton Sr.; his sister, Mary Jane Gorton; and seven grandchildren.