Governor Endorses Durkan for Seattle's Next Mayor

by | October 5, 2017

By Daniel Beekman

Seattle mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan notched the endorsement Wednesday of Gov. Jay Inslee, while opponent Cary Moon named four members of a transition team.

Inslee announced his support for Durkan in a video, saying the former U.S. attorney "has progressive values and she's fought for them ever since she was a baggage handler and Teamster up in Alaska," referring to a summer job the candidate held before law school.

"We need a mayor who combines progressive values with, second, the ability to get things done," the Democratic governor says in the video, mentioning Durkan's proposal that the city offer free community college to all of its public high school graduates.

"Her Seattle Promise plan so that every high school graduate can get community college tuition -- very farsighted, very appropriate, very Jenny," Inslee says.

"She's advanced some great ideas -- micro-housing and building more housing for folks to deal with this housing crisis."

The governor previously endorsed former Mayor Ed Murray, who ended his re-election campaign in May amid allegations that he had sexually abused teenagers decades ago. Murray, who resigned last month, denies the claims.

In addition to Inslee, the state's top elected leader, Durkan has been endorsed by two former governors -- Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke -- and by former King County Executive Ron Sims.

Earlier Wednesday, Moon named Diane Sugimura, Ray Hoffman, Esther Handy, and Nicole Vallestero Keenan to a team that will help her prepare for potentially taking over as mayor.

Two of the four are experienced City Hall hands. Sugimura worked for the city for 38 years, before retiring last year. She was director of the city's planning and permitting department for 14 years. Hoffman was director of Seattle Public Utilities for seven years before stepping down last year.

Handy is deputy director at the Progress Alliance of Washington. She previously worked for Sims and, from 2010 to 2016, for Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien.

Vallestero Keenan is  executive director of Fair Work Center. She served on Mayor Murray's committee that forged a compromise on raising Seattle's minimum wage.

In statements, Sugimura said Moon "understands the value of working closely" with the city's department directors and Hoffman said the candidate "won't micromanage" the directors.

Handy said the transition team's role will be "to establish a clear and transparent management structure," while Vallestero Keenan said the goal is to include "community, government, labor, small business, city planning, and environmental leaders."

Moon also published an open letter to city employees Wednesday, saying "most good ideas are born in city departments or out in communities, not in the mayor's office."

Durkan won't be naming transition-team members before the Nov. 7 election's results are in.

In a statement, campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Formas said: "Jenny's focus is on earning the support of voters who are looking for bold ideas and experienced leadership come November, and if voters give her the honor of serving as the next mayor, she'll be ready and will make an announcement on her transition team at that time."

(c)2017 The Seattle Times