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The Mayor of Capitol Hill | Candidate Murray counts Hill home turf, establishment endorsements among his support

See also: The Mayor of Capitol Hill | Bruce Harrell Peter Steinbrueck | Mike McGinn | More Election 2013 coverage

As a 29-year resident of Capitol Hill representing central Seattle for 18 of those years in the state legislature, it’s hard to deny Ed Murray knows his neighborhood. He tells CHS Dilettante’s Ephemere chocolate sauce is one of his favorite things about living on the Hill.


Murray outside his E Pike campaign headquarters (Image: CHS)

But Murray touts a broader vision for running the mayor’s office. Some of that talk, especially around regional transportation, has led detractors to charge that Murray has spent too much time as an established politician in Olympia focused on big policy issues.

“The issue is not whether you’re an outsider or an insider, the issue is are you delivering on the things that Capitol Hill residents value,” said Murray, who has racked up perhaps the most favorable list of endorsements — both establishment and grass roots. “And I would say as a legislator, I have. And as a mayor, I could.”

(Source: Seattle Ethics and Election Committee as of July 1, 2013)

(Source: Seattle Ethics and Election Committee as of July 1, 2013)

Murray’s biggest competitor in the crowded race is incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn – a former Greenwood neighborhood activist who was elected in 2009 with a grass roots campaign that rebuked political insiders. What Murray may lack in the way of a McGinn-style grassroots campaign, he says he makes up for in results. Early returns on the campaign donation front — where Murray has been challenged by campaign finance laws as his time in Olympia was extended during this summer’s budget fight — also indicate a campaign in high gear.

Murray is probably best known as the state’s longtime champion for LGBT rights, culminating in last year’s win for marriage equality. If elected, Murray would be the city’s first openly gay mayor; a feat that he says would be historic but not his reason for running.

Murray says he has a strong record in the legislature bringing back transportation money for the city, including funds for the First Hill Streetcar. He chaired the house transportation committee and passed the only significant tax-levy in 20 years for transportation infrastructure. But Murray has also raised eyebrows for his calls for more regionally minded transit.

At Murray's E Pike campaign headquarters. Is Murray a vote machine? We'll see come the August primary (Image: CHS)

At Murray’s E Pike campaign headquarters. Is Murray a vote machine? We’ll see come the August primary (Image: CHS)

Murray once floated the idea of consolidating city and regional transit authorities, but now maintains that if consolidation were to happen, it must occur naturally over time. He has also criticized the current mayor for not building broader regional coalitions in his plans for a Ballard-to-downtown light rail extension.

Murray tells CHS he is genuinely baffled by some transportation advocates like writers at the Seattle Transit Blog who question his commitment to pro-density rapid transit and insisted his time in Olympia only bolsters his ability to get more done.

“I think the region is willing to look at coming together for both the suburbs and the city of Seattle, getting more revenue and more light rail. More revenue at a larger amount means you can build projects faster,” he said. “That’s going to take going to Olympia and getting the authority for that. And I hopefully know how Olympia works.”

One issue that will require a decidedly city-focused approach is what to do about increasing affordability as rents continue to rise on Capitol Hill. Murray said he supports increased density in Capitol Hill and microhousing should be a part of that, as long as it’s regulated.

“The city has to first determine what microhousing is and where we want it,” he said. “We need strict guidelines for developers in how they build it.”

In his first 15 years on Capitol Hill, Murray said he rented apartments. He and his longtime partner now live in a single-family home with two co-op buildings behind their house. “I don’t see the problem. We don’t suffer from noise problem or privacy problems,” Murray said.

As a neighborhood homeowner with a long history representing the Hill, Murray said his Capitol Hill credentials are strong.

“I spent 18 years in the legislature accomplishing some pretty progressive things that when I went down there people said wouldn’t happen. Things that were important to Capitol Hill. Capitol hill was at the center of it,” he said.

Today (Monday, July 8th), is the final day to register to vote before the August Primary. Ballots will be mailed July 19th. The final day of voting in the primary election will be August 6th.

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22 thoughts on “The Mayor of Capitol Hill | Candidate Murray counts Hill home turf, establishment endorsements among his support

  1. Establishment? I’ll say. Check out his non-individual donors and 2014 senate account (and expenditures).

  2. If Ed Murray is such an effective advocate for transit in Olympia, then why didn’t he get the legislature to save Metro from huge cuts this year? Ed Murray wants people to believe he’s an effective advocate for Seattle’s needs when the record clearly shows he is no such thing.

    • You’re no too bright, junipero. The cuts coming to Metro are the direct result of Mayor McGinn’s dragging out the waterfront tunnel 2+ years by fighting it even after pledging in his campaign that he would not do so.

      Part of the tunnel package was increased funding for Metro during construction. Now construction is delayed, Metro ridership is up and there’s no end in sight thanks to the present mayor.

      Ed Murray may not the the silver bullet many folks want, but he’d be a HELL of a lot better than anybody else running for mayor.

      • McGinn did not drag out the tunnel construction; it was expected to last until 2016 even before he ran for mayor. He does not have control over WSDOT not being able to land the giant ship with the tunnel boring machine for days, the errors in constructing the machine, etc.

      • Actually, part of the original tunnel agreement with the City, County, and State included a car tab for Metro. The legislature and previous governor killed the car tab increase. Blame: not the mayor.

  3. Blame thecuts in metro funding to Rodney Tom and the Republicans in the senate, not Ed Murray.

    • Murray is taking credit for the pittance he got in state funding through “collaboration” for transit every chance he gets, while transit funding is in crisis. If he were such a good collaborator, he would have been Majority Leader and not lost the majority to rogue caucus members.

  4. Ed did champion a measure that exempted night clubs from charging (the so called dance tax) on cover charges. That tax had a huge impact on at least 4 capital hill dance clubs.

  5. I would like to know more specifics from Murray regarding microhousing/apodments and exactly what new regulations need to be put in place. He has been vague on this issue. If he doesn’t get more specific, I’ll be voting for Peter Steinbrueck.

    But, hey, “ABM” (“anyone but McGinn)!!

    • McGinn is an awkward goof and a hypocrite for sure. However, all one needs to do is read this 2006 Seattle Weekly article to be reminded that Peter Steinbrueck isn’t all that either.

      I asked Steinbrueck to address his flip-flop on his stand on “right of first refusal” and lack of effort to control rent costs 7 years ago via his FB page. His answer? Crickets. I doubt he’ll get my vote.

      In my view, the question is, do we have single candidate who’s not a lying political hack to chose from? I dunno; do we? What do you think?

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