With region facing unprecedented challenges of pandemic, economic recession, and more, Constantine pledges to continue strong, focused leadership
SEATTLE – King County Executive Dow Constantine announced that he will seek re–election in 2021. Recognized for his leadership in combating the early outbreak of COVID-19, Constantine will focus on community health and safety; housing and homelessness; improving mobility; fighting systemic racism; and protecting our forests, farms, air and water.
“Our communities face unprecedented short- and long-term challenges as this crisis impacts our health, quality of life, and economy,” said Constantine. “Working alongside our nationally renowned public health experts and specialists across the region, we will fight this pandemic, implement a vaccination plan, and save lives. And we will use this unprecedented moment to rebuild and create a fairer, more just society.”
In addition to pandemic recovery, Constantine will prioritize emergency and supportive housing with onsite behavioral health services for nearly two-thousand chronically homeless residents in the next two years.
“We have embarked on an ambitious plan to purchase, refurbish, or build thousands of units of affordable housing and to provide needed services to help vulnerable neighbors get back on their feet,” said Constantine. “We are uniting public partners, foundations, and private funders and nonprofits to make real progress in tackling the homelessness and affordability crises. We must move beyond stale debates, embrace evidence-based solutions, and act together to end this era in which thousands subsist in tents and parks instead of thriving in a place to call home. The health and dignity of our homeless neighbors and our entire community hang in the balance. We will take proven strategies to scale and make demonstrable progress throughout our region.”
Under Constantine’s leadership, King County Metro expanded service, increased rider comfort, committed King County to be a leader in zero-emissions battery buses, and was named the best large transit agency in North America. Constantine will ensure Metro puts equity at the forefront as bus service rebounds. As a longtime board member of Sound Transit who led the agency’s ambitious light rail and express bus expansion work, Constantine will focus on delivering fast, reliable transit throughout the region.
“We are a growing region that welcomes new residents,” said Constantine. “The only way we can reliably get people where they need to be, and meet our ambitious climate goals, is to complete our high-capacity rail network, and build the housing, jobs, child care, and services near these transportation hubs to support growing, diverse communities and opportunity for all.”
After declaring racism a public health crisis, Constantine is pushing all parties to reimagine what it takes to create safe communities, including the criminal legal system, and how behavioral health and human services are delivered, along with challenging racial and social inequity across King County.
Constantine, first elected to the position in 2009, will make the announcement to family, friends, and supporters at his annual “39th Birthday” event Monday evening, which he has held at Kells Irish Pub in the Pike Place Market’s Post Alley for nearly two decades. This year, instead of a crowd singing “Happy Birthday” at the bar where he once worked to save money for law school, Constantine will be joined at a Zoom event slated to include performances by musicians and storytellers and a conversation with travel guru and political activist Rick Steves.
“While we cannot launch this campaign in person with the crowd of friends and family I love seeing every year, it underscores why I am dedicated to this job and serving the people of King County,” said Constantine. “We must help our small restaurants and arts community survive. We must find ways to connect to one another and celebrate the progress we are making to build just, inclusive communities in our region. We must not falter in the work we are all doing to support one another in trying times. And we must keep faith with those who struggled and sacrificed to bring us this far, that the future can and will be better than the past.”
A lifelong West Seattle resident, Constantine first became civically engaged working with neighbors to save a local wooded ravine from development. After serving in the State House and Senate, he was appointed and then elected to the King County Council, prior to winning an eight candidate race to become King County Executive. Together with his wife Shirley and their 6-year-old daughter Sabrina, Dow still lives in his old neighborhood near his parents, both retired teachers.