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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 30 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 35
Murray: I'll fight for equality - Seattle mayoral frontrunner unveils detailed human services plan
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Murray: I'll fight for equality - Seattle mayoral frontrunner unveils detailed human services plan

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Ed Murray, Washington state senator and candidate for mayor of Seattle, announced his human services action plan at a press conference on August 29.

Flanked by Seattle City Council members Sally Clark and Tom Rasmussen, Murray said he had devoted most of his political career 'to fighting for equality.'

'We need equality not just in civil rights,' he continued. 'We need equality for those who are most in need & The Great Recession has blown a hole in the middle class. I don't want the city to be just those who are wealthy enough to live here, and those who serve those who are wealthy enough to live here.'

A four-page policy paper distributed at the presser laid out Murray's agenda.

'I believe that if Seattle is to meet the basic needs of our most vulnerable residents we must invest in programs that have proven effective in lifting people out of poverty, especially our children and families, and in services that help our seniors live independent and healthy lives,' Murray wrote in the policy paper.

'We must build strong partnerships with other public and private funders, and with community-based organizations, advocates, and clients,' he continued. 'We must invest our funds strategically and measure our results. I have been a champion of human services and social justice my entire career. As mayor I will set priorities, make the partnerships, follow through, and do the work.'

FIVE-POINT PLAN
The paper than laid out five specific goals Murray pledged to accomplish as mayor:

o Re-establish Seattle's leadership in human services;

o Re-establish the Office for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention that was dismantled under the current administration and move forward with implementing programs and services that are considered national best practices;

o Build solutions that recognize the challenges of meeting the needs of homeless individuals and families and the continuum necessary of shelters, survival services, and interim housing;

o End youth and young adult homelessness; and

o Prepare all city departments for the aging population.

McGINN CRITICIZED
In his speech, Murray charged that incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn had created confusion in the City's human services departments.

'There have been at least four directors of the Human Services Department in the three years [McGinn] has been Mayor,' Murray noted. He added that McGinn had become embroiled in unproductive squabbles with the City Council.

Council member Clark, whose relationship with McGinn has remained cordial, in contrast with some of her colleagues, said in response to a question that she'd decided to endorse Murray because she believed that he would usher in a period of collaboration between the mayor's office and the council.

'There might be some risk endorsing Ed,' Clark said. 'I have to work with whoever wins. But I have to admit, the last three and a half years it's been hard doing it.'

Rasmussen, on the other hand, has repeatedly clashed with McGinn. He noted that Murray had reached out to him for his views as the campaign's position paper was being prepared.

'Mayor McGinn has not reached out,' Rasmussen charged, 'and he has weakened housing and human services.'

In response to a question, Murray also endorsed the $15 per hour minimum wage now being sought by fast-food workers, although he cautioned that 'how we get there is open for discussion.' In a follow-up question, Murray said he'd be open to either state or city legislation on the issue.

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