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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 26, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 26
'When you have power, you use power.'

SGN EXCLUSIVE:
Pride interview with Mayor Ed Murray
Section One
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'When you have power, you use power.'

SGN EXCLUSIVE:
Pride interview with Mayor Ed Murray

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

As we head toward Pride 2015, it seems like the best of times for Seattle's LGBT community.

Most observers expect the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality in the next week or so, and if they do, it will be a popular decision. Some polls show as many as 60% of U.S. voters supporting marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Marriage equality passed in this state in 2012, and a comprehensive civil rights law as far back as 2006.

Seattle has a Gay mayor, and the man who is mayor - Ed Murray - was instrumental in passing both measures. One thing SGN wanted to know when we talked with Murray was this: Is the LGBT community at the proverbial tipping point, where our progress is now irreversible?

'As far as Seattle and Washington go, the tipping point has already come and past,' Murray replied.

'If the Supreme Court takes it further - if they give us a favorable, or mostly favorable decision - we have to remember that there will still be many LGBT people [in the U.S.] who are not protected, many families that still are not recognized.

'Our country looks a lot like the world. There are some places - like Seattle - where our rights are protected, our neighbors accept us, and we can live in peace, but there are other places where that's not the case and where we still have to confront terrible prejudice.'

Murray loves to quote his childhood hero, Jack Kennedy, and his parents' hero, Franklin Roosevelt. He readily admits to a political kinship with FDR and JFK.

'I certainly believe in activist government,' he tells SGN. 'The reason the New Deal and the New Frontier are inspirational for me is that they brought innovation and new ideas into government and used them to help people.'

Some observers, however, have compared Murray to LBJ - always ready to strong-arm doubters to get his programs passed.

'When you have power, you use power,' Murray replied. 'You use power because you want to do something for people.'

What does Murray want to do for Seattle residents after a year and a half as mayor? In reply he ticks off a list of programs.

'Much to my amazement, the City Council passed my transportation package 9-0 [on June 23]. We need to move forward with that and take it to the voters.' The $920 million levy will almost certainly get final approval by the City Council on June 29, and then will go on the November ballot.

'We've made progress on police reform - as the federal monitor has recognized - but we're still not there,' Murray continued. Federal monitor Merrick Bobb has asked the City Council not to go ahead with its own legislation, but to work with the mayor on joint measures.

'Voters passed a pre-K initiative [in November 2014] and we have to start getting kids into classrooms.' Murray's pre-K initiative beat out one sponsored by local education unions.

'I also have an affordable housing agenda that needs to get off the ground.' Murray wants to add 20,000 rent-restricted affordable housing units over the next decade, but his Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee has failed to come up with concrete proposals.

Murray served in the state legislature as a representative and then as a senator for the 43rd District for 18 years. He has been mayor a year and a half. Asked which office suited him better - legislative or executive - Murray replied that he likes being mayor.

'I love it when a legislator and I can sit down and have a conversation about legislative strategy,' he told SGN, 'but the most satisfying - the most moving thing - that's to be the mayor.

'When you're mayor you really have to get things done. You have to fix the streets, you have to keep the electricity on, you have to get kids into summer jobs. You do things people really need to get done.

'This will be - I think - the forty-first Pride Parade,' he concluded. 'In that time there's been incredible progress, but there's still a long way to go.

'You know, we progress as a community, but people come out as individuals. And as individuals they still have to confront prejudice. Our young people coming out now still have a long way to go.'

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It's marriage!
Supreme Court rules for equality

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LGBT activist launches bid for Port Commission
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'When you have power, you use power.'

SGN EXCLUSIVE:
Pride interview with Mayor Ed Murray

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