Will be Seattle’s 1st Gay Mayor If Wins in November
In early returns in Seattle’s mayoral primary, openly gay Ed Murray leads with 30 % of the vote while incumbent Mike McGinn Mayor since 2009, state Chair of the Sierra Club, had 27 percent. Murray, who was pleasantly surprised, said “just a month ago, I was no. 3. Tonight, I’m no. 1!”
The State Senator told the crowd “I’m not running to be a gay mayor of Seattle,” Murray told the crowd. “I’m not running to be a progressive mayor of Seattle. I’m running to be an effective mayor of Seattle who actually gets results.”
Murray represented Seattle’s 43rd Legislative District in the Washington State legislature since 1995 and serves as the Senate Majority Leader. He was elected to the State Senate in 2006 and previously served in the House of Representatives for eleven years.
Instrumental in Washington State’s Legalizing Gay Marriage
Murray may not be running to be a gay mayor of Seattle, but as a state senator, he is credited with leading the fight for same-sex marriage which voters approved with Referendum 74 last November. A Democrat, Murray lives in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood with his partner of two decades Michael Shiosaki, whom he plans to marry this month.
Other LGBT friendly legislation he sponsored was the 2002 Safe Schools bill, which protects sexual minority youth in schools from verbal and physical harassment. He also sponsored a bill banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation signed into law in 2006.
Despite a nine-candidate field, the primary focused on a narrow swath of progressive issues. During his time in the House, he was chair of the Capital Budget Committee that doubled funding for low-income housing. He was also chair of the House Transportation Committee, and produced the first new major transportation construction package in thirteen years. Two years later, he replaced the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle. These two packages in 2003 and 2005 represent the largest investment in Washington’s transportation infrastructure in the state’s history. He sponsored legislation making Washington’s car emission standards to be the highest in the United States.
Murray is running on a platform of building bridges between the city and its suburbs. He says the next mayor must make police reform the “number one issue” when selecting a new chief “who will restore our police force and regain the respect of the citizens of this city.” McGinn was criticized in 2012 for fighting federal officials who sought greater oversight of the city’s police force.
An attorney, McGinn is also against plans that would have Washington state host export terminals and tracks for trains hauling coal from Montana and Wyoming and destined to Asia and is opposed to the State 99 Tunnel. Whereas McGinn would create separate bike lines on more streets, Murray wants a single balanced plan instead.