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King County Executive race, Joe Nguyen
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‘It’s time for change’: First prominent challenger for King County Executive in 12 years makes his case

State Sen. Joe Nguyen. (Campaign photo)

For the first time since he took office in 2009, King County Executive Dow Constantine will face a prominent reelection challenger in state Sen. Joe Nguyen. But why does Nguyen believe that now is the time for a change? He spoke to KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show to state his case.

Nguyen to challenge Dow Constantine in race for King County Executive

Constantine’s past election challengers have primarily been Republicans, including his most recent opponent in 2017, Bill Hirt, who lost by a wide 77% to 22% margin. Nguyen, though, is a fellow Democrat, and in a county known for its status as a progressive stronghold, he argues that it’s time for a change.

“I believe that politics is about people and not careers,” he said. “This moment demands leaders who will act with urgency to solve some of the biggest problems we’ve ever faced in this county.”

“And look, I appreciate the incumbent’s 12 years in office, but homelessness isn’t waiting; climate change isn’t waiting and inequities in our society aren’t waiting,” he continued. “It’s time for change, especially as we’re getting past this pandemic.”

Nguyen frames his candidacy as one rooted in progressive policies, including free public transit, a wealth tax on the county’s richest residents, and the closure of King County’s new youth jail.

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At the same time, he also touts his record of reaching across the aisle as a state Senator.

“Certainly the issues and ideas that I have to get things done are more on the progressive side, but I have been shown to be very effective as an alliance builder, a coalition builder, and willing to work with other people, even if we disagree with each other,” Nguyen described, pointing to the fact that 93% of bills passed in the Legislature over the last session were bipartisan.

“I do about 20 to 30 meetings in any given day during the legislative session with folks, and I intentionally will talk to people that I disagree with,” he added.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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