Sen. Slade Gorton (R-WA)

Congressional Arts Leadership

Senator Slade Gorton, Washington state's senior United States Senator, began his third term in 1994. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Senator Gorton is a key player in issues related to the National Endowment for the Arts. Although the House of Representatives voted to eliminate all funding to the NEA's budget last year, Senator Gorton led his Senate Subcommittee to quickly fund the embattled agency at $100 million, a modest yet highly symbolic increase from the previous fiscal year.

Under his leadership, the bill passed unanimously in the Senate Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations and was later approved by full committee. Following House-Senate conference negotiations, the NEA received $98 million for FY98 - a victory made possible by Senator Gorton's strong stance on behalf of the agency. Known for his unflagging commitment to the people of his home state, Senator Gorton is well-respected by Washingtonians and his colleagues in Congress alike.

Senator Gorton has won considerable praise from his constituents and the greater arts, business and civic communities for his leadership in preserving funding for the National Endowment for the Arts this past year. Senator Gorton, originally from Chicago, moved to Seattle 44 years ago. He began his political career in 1958 as a Washington state representative and went on to become the State House Majority Leader. In 1968, he was elected the state's Attorney General. He and his wife Sally have three children and seven grandchildren. He served active duty in both the U.S. Army and Air Force as well as 25 years in the Air Force Reserve.