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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 29, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 39
Why Jenny Durkan is right for Seattle Mayor
Section One
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Why Jenny Durkan is right for Seattle Mayor

by Charlene Strong - Special to the SGN

Finding the sweet spot in the manifold definitions of 'Progressive' in Seattle politics can at best be elusive and at worst the ignition source to endless divisive wrangling. It's almost as if we are falling all over ourselves to see who can out 'progress' the others' Progressive scruples. Arguments and perceptions are a deafening racket that is difficult to ignore, much less decipher in this city. The scrutiny and judgment that goes into the endorsement of willing candidates is not for the weak of heart.

During my run for office I observed the efforts of many who offered themselves up to be the next civic leader for our city. In that time, I witnessed up close the candidates for Mayor. When I heard that Jenny Durkan was going to run for the office I was elated and encouraged. Our sitting Mayor, struggling with personal histories that were proving formidable, caused needless distraction and questions about city leadership. It was Jenny's entry into the race that gave me great hope that our city would indeed endure and prevail in the (here's that word again) 'Progressive' and compassionate city that I have been so proud to call home for 30 plus years. Jenny's equanimity, legal and civic discernment I believe will keep our city moving forward, addressing extraordinarily complex issues that demand a laser focus and legal and civic understanding that I know Jenny possesses.

I met Jenny Durkan at the most difficult time in my life. It was in 2006 after the loss of my late partner, Kate Fleming, that I was left to try and understand how anyone but my someone Kate could have drowned in our house in Seattle during the Hanukkah eve storm of 2006. The unexplainable was only part of the story; I was grappling with a house that was destroyed and my life ripped apart in an instant by what I witnessed and endured that night; the unimaginable pleas by Kate to rescue her that haunted me over and over that I then had to come to grips with because I was helpless in saving Kate that night.

To compound the agony of the loss, I then had to beg to be by Kate as she lay dying in the hospital that night, being looked upon as a mere stranger. I could do nothing to address the discrimination I navigated that night with any immediacy, but I was left to unravel the next steps of trying to survive and put my life back together.

I sought legal advice on how to address the ongoing flooding in Madison Valley that plagued a neighborhood for decades. I desperately wanted to address, not just my loss, but I never wanted anyone else to die due to the flooding that went on far too long in Madison Valley.

It was after many interviews I made the decision to ask Jenny to help me with my claim.

Jenny instilled in me an assurance that my life would be restored and the flooding would be addressed, once and for all. It was her compassion that struck me first and foremost, and her confidence that the city would understand what needed to happen, what needed to be restored for the safety of not just me, but a community that was shaken by a tragic loss and devastation.

As difficult as this is to write I feel it is important that we take note of the unflappable leadership that Jenny has provided over and over to so many who have been helped by her smarts and her ability to get real and significant results for at times extraordinarily difficult and pain filled losses and issues.

So, we are down to the top '2' for the top seat in our city to be the management and Executive leadership of the fastest growing city in the nation. So, what does our city need today? It needs immediacy from a proven talented leader who can get into the office of Mayor and address the needs of our vibrant metropolis on day one. This I believe is only going to be accomplished by one candidate and that is Jenny Durkan.

The notion and assertion that Jenny is the 'establishment' candidate is, while a convenient label for her detractors, is neither accurate, nor reasonable and speaks very little of the long and exemplary career that Jenny has gracefully executed.

Here is a list of her more notable accomplishments and leadership:

o Appointed by President Obama and worked directly with Attorney General Eric Holder as US attorney for western Washington.

o She is the first openly gay US attorney to ever serve for any president in our United States.

o For the record, she was unanimously confirmed for US attorney by the US Senate.

o She was the attorney who successfully defeated the 2005 recount by Dino Rossi.

o She was the attorney who represented the firefighters who were tragically killed in one of our cities greatest losses: The Pang warehouse fire.

o She represented me when I lost my wife Kate to the Madison Valley flood in 2006 and now a 32-million-dollar retention pond protects the community from ever flooding again.

o Jenny pushed for SPD reform after the Department of Justice deemed a pattern of excessive force was an issue.

o As US attorney she established a civil rights office to address civil rights issues facing our region.

A resume that must not be ignored or discounted, Jenny's legal acumen makes her the most qualified candidate for the next Mayor of Seattle.

Our next Mayor needs to be about our future, we are witnessing an instability in the other Washington that cannot be ignored and for many I am sure it is unsettling. You want to 'Trump proof Seattle,' then we need a Mayor who has already stood up to Trump. Want to talk about a leader who protects the rights of others? Who was in a back room at SeaTac making those planes stay on the ground in Seattle? It was Jenny along with Courtney Gregiore that kept those planes in Seattle. It's that level of leadership that we need and, as a bonus, legal understanding that will be best for a world-class city.

We tout ourselves as the first in the nation. I believe this to be true, and in my opinion the best way to continue to be so is to elect a compassionate, smart person who will work in the best interest of Seattle, regardless of the pressures looming from the Oval Office. I, for one, believe that Jenny should be leading Seattle into the future and as a Mom and someone who has loved and called this city my home for 35 years I know Jenny Durkan will be the best candidate for Seattle.

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Why Jenny Durkan is right for Seattle Mayor
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