Gael is a former senior defense analyst for the Pentagon, a Port of Seattle Commissioner, an international business director, and most recently worked at the University of Washington for more than 8 years before joining the Washington State Legislature in 2013.
As a state representative for the 36th Legislative District, Gael has served in a variety of leadership roles. As Majority Floor Leader for three years, she organized caucus message and response on matters on the floor. While often responding to opposition, Gael always focuses on finding bipartisan solutions to statewide problems and providing opportunities to consensus.
Now serving as chair of the Finance Committee, Gael is dedicated to financing the needs of Washington’s 7.5 million residents. She seeks to find solutions to the state’s problems, including the regressive tax structure that limits government’s ability to address a growing population, health and economic disparities, educational access, climate change, global economic forces, and risks to vulnerable populations.
Gael brings her critical eye and collaborative approach to addressing these challenges. She believes that reliance on outdated and insufficient taxation that harms middle class and working families can no longer be the standard operating procedure in Washington state.
An example of her success at bipartisan and bicameral approach to problem-solving includes helping to secure $440 million in the 2017 budget for career and technical education (CTE) pathways in high schools, which was part of a three year effort working with a task force on growing and sustaining the future workforce needs in the maritime and manufacturing sectors. Another example is her work to help get more than $200 million for the State Need Grant over three budget years, a step toward meeting the promise to students to help them pay tuition if they qualify.
Gael has served on several boards and work groups such as the Women Legislators Lobby (WiLL), Pacific NorthWest Economic Region, and Legislators’ Energy Horizons Institute.
She holds a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. The Northwest Asian Weekly honored her with the “Women Leaders 2012” award, and she also received the “Maritime Industry Official of the Year 2012” award. Gael was the youngest person ever to receive in public the Director of Central Intelligence’s “National Intelligence Medal of Achievement” for recognition of her exceptional contributions to protecting vital national interests
Gael and her husband, Bob, have lived in the 36th District’s Ballard neighborhood for 25 years. The Olympic Peninsula has been their favorite spot to fish for salmon and steelhead and go hiking.