Gael was raised near Gloucester, MA, the oldest fishing port in America. One of seven children, she learned from her parents how to work hard and break through barriers. A valedictorian of her graduating class, Gael moved to Washington, D.C. after high school to attend college at Georgetown University. After graduating college, Gael stayed in DC to work as a senior defense intelligence analyst for the Pentagon, working on security issues affecting ports across the country. One of the few women to advise the Joint Chiefs of Staff on threats to our nation, Gael was responsible for creating disaster preparedness and emergency response plans for ports nationwide. In 1989, she was the youngest person ever to receive in public the Director of Intelligence’s “National Intelligence Medal of Achievement” for recognition of her exceptional contributions to protecting vital national interests.
After a decade working at the Pentagon, Gael ran two international subsidiaries of a Fortune 500 company in Russia, managing multi-million dollar budgets. Her work helped rebuild the country after the Cold War collapse, employing new technologies in an effort to clean up nuclear waste and prevent environmental disasters. Gael reported to Al Gore’s commission on global climate change and she developed plans for oil spill response and clean up for the U.S. Coast Guard. Her groundbreaking work broke more barriers yet – Gael was the first U.S. businesswoman ever to address a joint session of the Russian parliament in 1996.
Gael co-founded the University of Washington’s Citizen Roundtable on Politics and Democracy, expanding involvement in the democratic process for individuals in our community. Additionally, she co-founded the Northwest chapter of Women in International Security (WIIS) and organized a forum at the Port of Seattle to discuss important security issues facing our region. Gael also was former chair of the Averill Education Fund, a scholarship program for low-income youth in Massachusetts. She was also a research analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency and a policy director for at the National Bureau of Asian Research in Seattle.
Currently, Gael works as a strategic advisor for the Institute for National Security Education and Research at the University of Washington, where she has worked since 2004. She also serves as a technical advisor for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Seattle.
Following the numerous scandals and failed Port audits, Gael ran for election in 2007 against two-term incumbent Bob Edwards. Running on a “port reform” message, Gael won her election with 54 percent of the vote and is currently the third woman ever elected to the Port of Seattle. After her swearing-in ceremony in 2008, Gael went right to work on cleaning up the Port’s mess. During her first term, Gael created new transparency for Port business practices, saved taxpayers millions of dollars through a re-structure of competitive bidding, cleaned up our air by pulling diesel-spewing trucks off our streets and helped chart a path for rebuilding our economy – efforts that have led to the creation of nearly 5,000 new jobs since the Great Recession started. Gael is recognized as a leader on stopping human trafficking across Washington’s borders as well as in emergency preparedness and response planning. Gael is now running for State Representative of the 36th District, Position No. 2. She will fight to continue creating jobs, safeguarding our environment, ensuring government accountability, higher-education funding and funding health-care.
Gael currently lives in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle with her husband Bob, surrounded by the Puget Sound landscape that connects all our communities. She has lived in the 36th District for 18 years.