See the former jobs of the governor of Washington

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September 26, 2022

See the former jobs of the governor of Washington

In 2018, 36 out of the nation's 50 states held elections for governor. A record-shattering 16 women were major party nominees the position, nine of whom were successful, making the current number of female governors tied with the all-time high number set in 2004. The LGBTQ+ community also made historic strides, as Colorado's Jared Polis became the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the United States, and Oregon's Kate Brown, who is bisexual, was reelected in her state.

Fast forward to the 2022 elections, and 36 states will once again elect—or reelect— their governors. But who are these powerful politicians, and what were they doing before they took their states' reigns?

Stacker analyzed the former roles every current governor had before taking office and found varying resumes, from positions as cabinet secretaries to the CEO of an ice cream company. Read on to find out where your state's governor developed and honed the leadership skills that propelled them to public office or check out the national story here.

Jay Inslee (D-Washington)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee first worked as a private attorney and city prosecutor in Selah and became politically active two years later when he was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives. In 1992, he won a race for the U.S. House of Representatives but was defeated after just one term. From 1997 to 1998, he was a regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services, before winning another congressional race.

While all 50 governors bring with them experiences from different walks of life, some share several commonalities. A total of four current governors have served in the military, and 15 were at one point the lieutenant governor of their states. Eleven governors previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives, while just one was a former U.S. senator.

Keep reading below to see the former jobs of governors of other states in your region.


After graduating college, Idaho Gov. Brad Little returned home to his family's ranch and eventually expanded into the business of livestock production. In the 1990s, Little served as president of the Idaho Wool Growers Association and as chair of the American Sheep Industry's Public Lands Committee before selling his sheep business. In 2001, he was appointed by the Idaho governor to serve in a vacant state senate seat.


Kate Brown, Oregon's 38th governor, started her career as a family law attorney and later worked with the Juvenile Rights Project and co-founded the Oregon Women's Health & Wellness Alliance. Brown also taught at Portland State University. In 2004, Brown became the first woman to serve as Oregon's Senate Majority Leader, the culmination of 17 years representing Oregonians in the state legislature. From 2009 to 2015, she was Oregon's secretary of state.

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