First elected in 1992, Senator Patty Murray is now serving her fourth term representing Washington state. Originally known for her work on education and children's issues, Patty has become a national leader on budget, transportation, economic development, health care, women's health, and veterans' issues.
As one of the few members of Congress who has been able to break through the partisanship and gridlock to create jobs and boost the economy, Patty never gives up on her core principles and values -- but she always looks for ways to build partnerships with anyone, from any party, who is willing to work with her to get results for Washington state families and communities.
As Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Patty worked to finally halt the years of budget crises and restore investments in education, health care, research, and jobs.
And now, as the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee -- she is fighting every day to invest in our students and schools, fix the broken No Child Left Behind law, build on the health care gains we've made, and enact policies that create jobs and grow the economy from the middle out, not the top down.
Patty is currently the fourth-ranking Democrat in the United States Senate and a senior member of the Veterans Affairs and Appropriations Committee -- but she has never forgotten where she comes from or who she represents. She comes home almost every weekend, travels across Washington state listening to her constituents, and then goes back to Washington, D.C., to help families, solve problems, and fight for Washington state priorities.
Patty was raised in Bothell, Washington. Her dad ran a five and dime store on Main Street, where she and her siblings all worked growing up. As a twin and one of seven children, she quickly learned the value of a strong work ethic and a country that supports those who fall on hard times when her father fell ill when she was 15. Patty's father -- a World War II veteran and a Purple Heart recipient -- was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and in a few short years, his illness got so bad he couldn't work anymore. Patty's mother, who had stayed home to raise their family, had to take care of him while also working to support their family. She found some work, but it didn't pay enough to support Patty and her six brothers and sisters -- and a husband with growing medical bills. Thankfully, they lived in a country where the government didn't just say "tough luck."
Patty's family received some help from the VA for their father's medical care, but for several months her family had to rely on food stamps. However, thanks to a program established by the federal government, Patty's mother was able to go back to school in order to find a better paying job. And thanks to federal grants and student loans, Patty and her siblings were all able to attend college. While attending Washington State University, Patty took an internship in the psychiatric ward of the Seattle VA. It was there she personally witnessed the sacrifices of young Vietnam War veterans.
Never planning to enter politics, in the 1980s a state politician told her she "couldn't make a difference" when she went to Olympia as a parent to advocate for a local preschool program targeted by state budget cuts. Patty responded by organizing a grassroots coalition of 13,000 parents that fought successfully to save the program. Patty went on to serve on the Shoreline School Board, and in 1988 was elected to the Washington State Senate. In 1992, she ran for the United States Senate as a voice for Washington families who were not being heard. Dramatically outspent, Patty ran a grassroots campaign of family, friends, supporters, and public interest groups to beat a 10-year veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives. Patty was re-elected in 1998, 2004, and 2010.
Patty met her husband of over 40 years, Rob Murray, while attending Washington State University. They have two grown children, Sara and Randy, and three grandchildren. Patty enjoys fishing, exploring Washington state's great outdoors, and spending time with her family.