An excerpt from the upcoming autobiography of former governor Dan Evans is the latest chapter in Legacy Washington’s new project, “1968: The Year that Rocked Washington.” The chapter—part of an exhibit that will open Sept. 13 at the State Capitol — is now online at the project’s homepage.
The August 9, 1968, edition of Time magazine featured the keynote speaker for the Republican National Convention at Miami Beach: 42-year-old Daniel J. Evans, described as the prototype of the party’s dynamic “New Breed.” Just 12 years earlier, Evans had been a low-profile Seattle civil engineer campaigning for the Legislature. Now he was Washington’s governor and mentioned as a possible pick for vice president.
Evans told Republicans the nation demanded “the fresh breeze of new energy” to honorably end the war in Vietnam and solve “the crisis in the main streets of America — a crisis of violence and stolen hope.” It was time to “touch the troubled spirit of America” and solve the problems of the environment, urban decay, and rural stagnation. Three days later, Richard Nixon chose Spiro T. Agnew, the little-known governor of Maryland, as his running mate.
As he watched the Nixon administration implode over the next six years, Evans admits “what if?” sometimes ran though his mind. He was on a shorter vice-presidential list in 1976, losing out to Bob Dole.
After an unprecedented three consecutive terms as governor, Evans headed The Evergreen State College before becoming a U.S. senator. In what passes for “retirement,” Evans has served as a University of Washington regent and is a tireless advocate for the environment.
Thank you to University of Washington for sponsoring Governor Dan Evans’s panel.