Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Ed Murray Checks the Box for Dow Constantine"

Ed Murray:
I got to know Dow Constantine years ago, when he first came to the legislature. Even then he stood out as someone with real leadership skills and a progressive vision for moving this region forward. You could see that he had the whole package: talent, charisma, smarts, strong Democratic values and an ability to bring people together to get the hard work done.
My respect for Dow has only grown over the years. I think of him as less a politician than a good government guy, someone who really takes the time to learn the details of policy and to develop and refine good ideas to turn them into real results. Dow believes in offering solutions, not mere sound bites.

It takes a while to notice, because he is so easy to get along with, but underneath his ordinary guy exterior Dow has a core of exceptional toughness. We saw that last week, when Dow called out Susan Hutchison for running a stealth campaign intended to hide her conservative Republican beliefs from the voters. Yes, it’s true that all elected officials like to claim that they are strong and principled, but Dow has demonstrated time and again that he is willing to walk the talk.

On the issues that really matter, he is tenacious, even in the face of long odds. Back before the reality of global warming was so widely accepted, Dow introduced the state’s first climate change legislation in the state legislature. For a decade, he has led the charge to stop an international mining company from destroying sensitive shoreline habitat in the Maury Island Aquatic Reserve. It has been a tough battle, but Dow has stuck to his guns in the face of the company’s hardball tactics.

When Dow learned that the historic first United Methodist Church building in downtown Seattle was going to be razed, he got to work. It seemed hopeless at first, but after years of dogged effort Dow brought the parties together and forged a deal that saved the building. I was proud to speak at his kick off event there a couple of weeks ago. It is a beautiful space, and if Dow had not acted it would gone today.

I have spent years working on increasing transit in King County, and Dow has been there with me in the trenches. While others sought headlines, his quiet, effective work on the Sound Transit board played a major role in the recent vote to expand mass transit across this region over the next 15 years. He really is a work horse rather than a showboat.

And yes, I am proud of Dow for standing up for the gay and lesbian community. He has always been a strong champion in the legislature and at the County for civil rights and social justice. I’ll never forget that he stood by my side when we fought the passage of the state’s discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. We know that if Dow is elected, we in the gay community will have a friend in the Executive’s office, and that the County’s progressive policies on gay issues will be safe.

Specific issues aside, Dow understands that King County needs to change. He has been on the Council long enough to know what needs to be done – and to grow frustrated by the slow pace of reform– but not long enough that he has become beholden to the status quo. He was the first Executive candidate to raise the issue of County benefit costs, and to offer a plan to address the issue without penalizing lower-paid, front line workers. The Seattle Times called his plan “a dose of economic reality.”

He is also the only candidate who represents suburban cities, rural areas and Seattle neighborhoods. He’s beloved by his constituents, because he is a true champion for ordinary people. We need an executive who rejects the tired political divisions that pit communities against each other. I think Dow is the candidate who can do that.
For all of these reasons, I endorsed Dow in the race to become the next Executive. He has the vision to lead King County through difficult times, and I look forward to working with Executive Constantine to advance a progressive agenda over the next four years.
Howie P.S.: To be honest, what sticks in my mind about Ed Murray is that when Michelle Obama came to Seattle for a fundraiser in July, 2007 Murray was the only elected officisl I can remember seeing in attendance.

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