Senate Democrats selected Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, as the new state Senate majority leader during a caucus meeting Tuesday. Murray's colleagues elected him by acclamation; the position was uncontested.
"We have work to do in Olympia - prioritizing education, creating jobs for the middle class, and ensuring Washingtonians have the health care they need. And one of our challenges in a closely divided chamber is to ensure that the Senate is able to fulfill its obligation to govern the state, in tandem with Gov.-elect Jay Inslee and the House. These are not simple challenges, but they are solvable. We can find solutions that work for all of Washington," Murray said.
Murray was the prime sponsor of Washington’s marriage equality law, which voters upheld this year through Referendum 74. With his election, he becomes the first openly gay caucus leader in state history and the only openly gay state Senate leader currently serving in the nation.
He previously served as chair of the budget-writing Senate Ways & Means Committee, and led the writing of the first truly bipartisan state budget in memory.
In the coming legislative session, Murray will take on a role filled for a decade by Sen. Lisa Brown of Spokane. On Tuesday, Brown offered her support.
“I have congratulated Sen. Murray on his election as majority leader and offered my assistance. He has done a fantastic job during the course of his 17 years in Olympia, and we have accomplished a great deal together. Under Sen. Murray’s leadership, the Democratic Caucus is well-positioned to continue to provide support for the people of Washington,” Brown said.
Murray has represented the 43rd District in Seattle since 1995, when he was elected to the House, where he later served during a 49-49 tie between political parties. As chair of the House Transportation Committee, he negotiated the 2003 and 2005 transportation construction packages, the first new revenue package and major construction measures in 13 years and the largest investment in Washington’s transportation infrastructure in the state’s history.
In 2006, while still serving in the House, Murray also successfully sponsored a bill banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, capping a 30-year effort by the gay and lesbian community.