Published January 15, 2013
UPDATE - Gov. Gregoire writes a book about her two termsBrad Shannon
No one really questions that departing Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire had a tough second term that defined her eight years in office.As it turns out, Gregoire was willing to relive it in order to tell other governors and policy people how to cope with similar challenges like the Great Recession. Gregoire, evidently a Democrat with a hardy soul, has written a book about her experiences, calling it Tale of Two Terms: Governing in Good Times and Bad. I’ve only seen an online copy and skimmed it - it opens with her efforts to boost trade in Vietnam by hawking potato products, which earned her one reporter’s nickname, “The French Fry Lady.’’ In one acknowledgement late in the book, Gregoire explains why she wrote it:
I remember taking a few days off after my re-election in November 2008. The only work-related reading I brought was a copy of Governor Clarence Martin’s inaugural address made in 1933 as the economic fallout of the Great Depression was reaching its height in Washington.
At the time of my vacation, our state, like the rest of the nation, was sinking into a recession that would later turn out to be the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. I brought Governor Martin’s speech to try to get ideas about how a former governor had managed in a recession. His remarks were the only document I could find that offered clues— in this case, however, limited — about managing state government in difficult financial times.
That’s when my thoughts about this book began. As the recession deepened and our problems grew more difficult by the month, I was more convinced that I wanted to leave some record that might be useful to future governors or students of government.
Producing the book made me reflect about more than lessons learned. I realized more than ever that any success a governor has is a measure of the kind of people he or she has around them. I was fortunate to have outstanding cabinet directors and staff who helped me work through the issues outlined in this book, and then helped me retell the stories.The book was written with Gregoire’s longtime deputy chief of staff Fred Olson, who also served as her top administrative aide when she was director of the Department of Ecology and later as attorney general for three terms. Olson also was a reporter and later managing editor for The Olympian before he joined government in the 1980s. And Olson’s wife, Teresa, managed the Governor’s Mansion. UPDATE to original Jan. 15 post: Gregoire said today that no public dollars went into producing the book. A link to the full text is here.