A buoyant Ed Murray, feeling the political winds at his back, laid out what he called “his vision” for Seattle if he’s elected mayor next month. Looking to close the deal, the veteran state senator hammered home his familiar campaign refrain – that the city needs someone who will practice the politics of consensus and compromise.
“We live in a city with a progressive spirit – a spirit that is built around the idea that ‘we’re better off together’ rather than ‘we should play the politics of division.’ The people of Seattle have always worked best by working together,” Murray told a large and enthusiastic gathering of supporters at the Columbia City Theater.
Without mentioning Mayor Mike McGinn by name, it was clear that his togetherness message was a not-so subtle jab at the incumbent, who trails badly in the polls.
“When our sense of togetherness fractures and some among us do not see themselves reflected in visions of Seattle’s prosperous future, our dropout rates increase, threats to our safety begin to wear at our quality of life, and even our roads and bridges – the physical manifestation of the togetherness of a city – begin to fall apart.” Murray said during his 15-minute speech.
As he often does, Murray evoked his humbling upbringing in a poor Irish Catholic household, whose parents were inspired by John Kennedy.
Calling himself a coalition builder, Murray talked broadly about ensuring public safety and strengthening the city’s commitment to education its children. It was the issue of transportation, though, that seemed to resonate most.
He vowed his transportation strategy would integrate bike, pedestrian, transit and freight. “Instead of ongoing, exhausting, unproductive wars between the various modes of transportation, let’s make sure that people have choices about transportation by create linkages among the modes,” Murray said. And to loud applause, he added, “We don’t have to be a city where there’s a war between cars and bikes.”
One of the more conspicuous members in the crowd was Peter Steinbrueck, the former city council member and urban architect, who finished third in the August primary.
Steinbrueck was coy about his reasons for attending the Murray event, saying he was “just doing his due diligence.” Though he said he’s not yet ready to endorse Murray, he strongly inferred that if he does throw his support to anyone it will go to the challenger.