Dow Constantine minced no words. That’s how Constantine, King County Executive, usually rolls.
“The state legislature is politically incapable right now of raising the revenues needed to responsibly invest in infrastructure… I’m not going to put up with that in King County,” Constantine told UW Young Democrats at their campus meeting on Wednesday.
Constantine, a three-time alum of UW, resolved to “insulate” the region from recession by helping its manufacturing be globally competitive. In his view, the key is support for the King County Aerospace Alliance, a collection of cities, businesses, labor and educational organizations that total nearly 45,000 employees and 400 companies.
“Rather than be dragged along” by the recession, King County needs to be independent and compete with other world centers of innovation, he said. King County should be competing with Barcelona, not with Mississippi.
Constantine said we can do so by bettering transportation and by connecting local youth with the skills and opportunity necessary to succeed in the industry. He said his goal is to achieve a “prosperity that’s accessible to everyone.”
Wearing a purple and gold tie, the Executive was candid with the 40 or so students about his undergraduate years at the UW and how “surreal,” he said, it was to meet President Barack Obama or eat Italian food with Governor Christine Gregoire.
When asked about the state of national politics, Constantine broke into a grin and pulled out his Democratic Party stripes.
“Aren’t those Republican candidates awesome?” he mused. “It’s like a race to the bottom. It’s like the D team. This is what happens when fundamentalists and extremists get a hold of the system. In the long run, it doesn’t do us any good, but in the short run, it’s great.”
In regard to his own electoral ambitions, the once speculated candidate for governor asserted his commitment to the King County Executive position.
“We’ve got half the state’s economy here,” Constantine said. “There’s plenty of work to do. It’s very enjoyable, rewarding work.”
Constantine added that he has plenty of time down the road to run for higher office.
“Although this may not appear to be the case from where you’re sitting now,” he joked, “I’m still not that old. My opportunities will come.”