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John D. Spellman, last Republican governor, dies

Won same year Regan took White House


John D. Spellman

— John D. Spellman, the last Republican governor of the State of Washington, has died at the age of 91. He passed away Monday night.

“Gov. John Spellman was one of the nicest people in public life I’ve ever met,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “Trudi and I send our deepest condolences to the Spellman family, many of whom we had the chance to get to know over the last few years.”

Spellman was elected governor in 1980. Ronald Reagan won the White House from Jimmy Carter that year.

Spellman served only one term. He had been the first King County Executive, serving from 1969 to the year he became governor.

“John was a true statesman and a deeply spiritual man who promoted racial equality and environmentalism, and persevered at every turn to build the Kingdome,” Secretary of State Kim Wyman said in a statement.

“Personally, I greatly admired Governor Spellman for his integrity, his vision and his tireless dedication to the people of Washington. Our thoughts and prayers remain with his family during this difficult time.”

Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson said: “Gov. Spellman cared deeply for our state and devoted a large part of his life to serving the people, first in King County and then in the governor’s office.

“He led our state during a difficult financial time in the early 1980s and left his mark by working to strengthen local governments. He also recognized early on that the state had an important role to play in protecting the environment and the open spaces in our unique corner of the world.”


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