Washington Governor Booth Gardner Dies, Champion of Death With Dignity Law

By Austin Jenkins

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The man who led the fight for Washington’s Death with Dignity law has died at the age of 76. Former Washington Governor Booth Gardner died late Friday night at home in Tacoma of complications relating to Parkinson’s disease. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins says the two-term Democrat did not avail himself of the law he helped to pass.

Austin Jenkins: Well it’s fairly ironic that the man who led the fight for Washington’s so-called Death With Dignity Law didn’t in fact qualify for it at the end. But in point of fact he knew that during the campaign because Parkinson’s is not considered a fatal disease and that is one of the requirements for the law. So he fought this law coming from a very personal place which was experiencing a debilitating disease and losing control, but he knew at the end he would not qualify under the very law that he had championed.”

In a statement, Washington’s current Governor Jay Inslee credits Gardner with leading the state to “a respectful discussion about the dignity of life and death.”

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