[Editor's Note. It's atypical for a local political contest: There are several highly-qualified candidates duking it out in a primary. In this year's race for King County Executive to replace Ron Sims, Democratic voters have a tough choice to make between two longtime King County Council Members, a Statehouse Rep., and a Statehouse Senator.
It is not a partisan primary. It's a Top-Two. (The general election is also non-partisan—nominally anyway). But still, conventional wisdom has it that only one of these four top-notch Democratic candidates will make it through the primary to face off against the fifth candidate in the race—well-known TV personality Susan Hutchison. Hutchison is a Republican.
Given the dilemma for Democratic voters—who to pick among their own ranks—PubliCola has asked each campaign to submit an opinion piece from a prominent local Democrat who's in their candidate's corner.
Last week, we heard from former Washington State Democratic Party Chair Paul Berendt in support of State Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina).
Today, State Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41, Mercer Island) writes in support of State Sen. Fred Jarrett (D-41, Mercer Island). Rep. Clibborn is chair of the State House transportation committee, has served as the mayor of Mercer Island, Executive Director of the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce, and is a registered nurse at Harborview Medical Center.]
Why I'm Supporting Fred Jarrett
by Rep. Judy Clibborn
The King County Executive race has attracted some good Democrats this year. Ross Hunter, Larry Phillips and Dow Constantine are solid candidates with strong Party credentials. Their entry into this race certainly speaks to the depth of the Democratic Party bench.
However, the other Democrat in the race, Fred Jarrett, is my choice for this important office. I have worked with Fred for more than 30 years as a council member, mayor and state representative. I know him to be a person of principled independence and unquestioned integrity. Those qualities together with his fresh vision, impeccable resume and unquestioned integrity combine to make him a great candidate.
Fred’s work in local government and the state legislature has been marked by his willingness to take tough stands and do what is right regardless of the political consequences. He has a remarkable talent for reaching across the aisle and working with reasonable people to achieve results for his constituents.
I think Fred’s principled independence is best illustrated by his decision to leave the Republican Party. He could have easily been elected to the State Senate as a Republican but was troubled by his belief that the party had abandoned its civil rights roots and become out of step with his strong pro-choice and pro gay rights views. He decided that the Democratic Party better reflected his progressive principles and would be a better platform from which to pursue his goals for more efficient and effective government.
Fred’s vision for King County also sets him apart. Fred has a clear plan for getting the county moving in the right direction. He wants to make Metro a world-class transit system and change the policy that allocates bus service so as to promote transit oriented development and serve employment centers. He wants to make King County a place where people and businesses want to make responsible investments to create the kind of family-wage jobs we so desperately need in this uncertain time.
And he wants to strengthen the county’s environmental programs to make them perform they way we need them to. Fred believes that real environmental protection requires true partnerships with other governments, communities and the private sector. Fred has been widely recognized as a friend of the environment. As Washington Conservation Voters “Legislator of the Year” for the 2003-04 legislative session and “House Environmental Champion” in 2004-05 and again in 2007-08 Fred has proven his mettle on environmental issues.
And that leads me to Fred’s resume. His experience as a mayor, city council member and school board member, together with his work as a Metro Council member, Chair of the Joint Regional Planning Committee and 35 years as a private sector manager make him perfectly suited to take on the challenges facing county government.
King County faces a fiscal crisis that threatens its ability to deliver critical health and human services programs, operate a transit system that meets the growing service demands of our region, protect our natural environment and help grow the economy and create jobs. We have four good democrats running to take on this daunting challenge but I believe Fred Jarrett is the right person at the right time for King County.