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Bothell native Sen. Murray makes a whistlestop in her hometown
“I’ve just got to tell you, there’s no place like home,” declared U.S. Sen. Patty Murray as she took to a raised dais set up in the middle of Bothell’s Main Street on Aug. 20.
Seeking re-election to the federal seat she first won in 1992, the Bothell native stumped for about half an hour to a highly partisan crowd of a few hundred supporters, taking a few pot shots at opponent Dino Rossi, but definitely playing up the theme of coming home to help launch her general-election campaign.
Murray essentially turned Alexa’s Cafe on Main into a temporary campaign headquarters, emerging from the eatery to begin the rally and returning there afterward for a brief press conference with local media. The selection of Alexa’s as the staging ground for Murray’s visit hardly was accidental.
Long before it was Alexa’s, Murray and her campaign staffers said the storefront was Meredith’s 10 Cent Store, run by Murray’s father. Behind Murray on the temporary dais were a number of her six brothers and sisters.
“We grew up sweeping the floors, working the register... getting into the candy bin when my dad wasn’t around,” Murray joked.
Meeting with reporters after her speech, Murray said that register she used to work stood about in the spot she was standing, near the front of Alexa’s.
“I decided to be here in Bothell because this was my dad’s store... because these are my roots,” she said.
Murray even reminisced about watching Fourth of July parades march down Main outside the store’s windows.
As she talked politics both during the rally and later, Murray stated when she refers to helping businesses on Main Street, it’s Bothell’s Main Street that pops into her head. And she argued that small, local businesses still are a focus of her attentions.
“It’s no different than when I first ran for the senate,” Murray said.
Murray added that it’s no secret families and small businesses are in trouble, and she places the blame for that situation on fallout from the Bush administration.
Having aligned herself with President Barrack Obama, Murray backs repealing corporate tax breaks put in place by Bush, but leaving in place tax breaks aimed at middle- and lower-income taxpayers. She took a few swipes at Rossi for supporting an extension of all the Bush tax breaks, as well as his push for repealing recently passed Wall Street reform acts.
“If it hurts his corporate sponsors, he’s not speaking for you,” Murray said.
Murray also touched on a couple of her other campaign themes, including her push to establish the Wild Sky Wilderness area, to put in place increased safety standards after a gas pipeline explosion in Bellingham two years ago, as well pushing for increased security at major maritime docks, such as in Seattle.
One major theme was what Murray touted as her continual support for veterans, even calling on former Marine and Iraq veteran Pete Smith to introduce her.
“I came home to no ‘Welcome home, Marine,’” Smith said. But he claimed on veteran’s issues, “Murray doesn’t just say, she does.”
Murray mentioned that while the economy is still a difficult one, neither Washington can afford to ignore infrastructure needs. She told a quick yarn regarding the holding of a Clinton transportation secretary in his office until he signed a spending plan that included funds for Sound Transit. She insisted the signing was a matter of urgency, taking place just 16 hours before Bush was sworn in as president, the implication being the funding was doomed if not approved before that swearing-in was accomplished.
Murray’s campaign organizers said they spent weeks setting up the Bothell rally, bargaining with the city, especially trying to help any businesses that might have been harmed by the closure of Main necessitated by the rally. Before and during the rally, Murray campaign organizers roamed the sidewalks, asking supporters to stay between ropes lining the curbs along Main. Staffers said one agreement with the city called for Main’s sidewalks to remain clear. According to the Murray camp, the campaign bore the entire cost of the rally.
“I’ve just liked Patty Murray for a long time,” said supporter Mary Lou Callero. Now a senior citizen, Callero said she has the time to get out and volunteer for Murray and was more than happy to do so.
One of many carrying a Murray campaign sign, Jessica Frank said she feels the Republican Party is going to do everything it can to regain control of one or the other houses of the national legislature. With that in mind, Frank said it’s important liberals and moderates take action, as well.
“We’ve all got to do what we can,” she added.