One Question

 Actually, we're going with seven questions today.

Seattle state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill) was named senate majority leader by his caucus yesterday afternoon.

With two conservative Democrats in the caucus, including Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue), who may capsize the Democrats' ability to govern, we're not sure if this is good news or bad news for Murray, who's currently enjoying his 15 minutes in the wake of the gay marriage vote. (Murray, who is gay, was the sponsor of the gay marriage legislation that voters just signed off on on Election Day.)

We had a lot of questions for Murray, including whether or not he's running for mayor.

Here's an exact transcript of our email exchange.

PubliCola: Have you talked to Sen. Tom about sticking with the caucus on key votes such as the budget? Do you have a strategy to deal with him?

Murray: I have chatted with him. He reaffirmed on most issues he sees himself as a Democrat. It remains to be seen if we can pull together as a caucus. The senate has always been a place of small majorities and members on both sides occasionally voting against their caucus

If it means higher taxes for a school district like the one I represent without additional revenue, then I will remain a no.

PubliCola:What are the major "To Dos" besides K-12 funding on your list? Specific legislation?

Murray: K-12 and Higher education. Because they are key to our goals of rebuilding and expanding the middle class.

PubliCola: What is your position on the levy swap [having the state take over local school levies, which would amount to a redistribution of property taxes so that richer districts pay more]? Should it be part of the K-12 funding equation?

Murray: If it means higher taxes for a school district like the one I represent without additional revenue, then I will remain a 'No'.

PubliCola: Signals are coming in that the tunnel (sorry!) is  going to be over budget. Tolling for one is evidently falling $200 million short of the predicted $400 million. Do you support lifting the $2.4 billion cap? In general, how do you see paying for the tunnel?

Murray: Several points. We need to understand what has caused cost overruns. We had an independent group tell us the financial plan was solid. What happened?  What is the status of the contingency funds we originally built into the plan?  At some point we will need a new transportation package and issues such as the tunnel and mitigation on 520 need to be included.

PubliCola: Name something you'll get done w a 27-22 margin vs. the 26-23 margin.

Murray: I think given the political diversity of our caucus depending on 25 votes to pass anything will be very difficult.

PubliCola: Did the caucus have any concerns about you running for mayor? I heard you would not get support if people thought you were running for mayor?

Murray: Some members did, others point out that majority leaders and speakers run for other offices all the time.

PubliCola: Are you running for mayor?



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