A B-Town Chat With King County Executive Candidate Susan Hutchison
by Mark Neuman
Former KIRO-TV reporter and anchor Susan Hutchison spoke with The B-Town Blog recently. She and County Council Chair Dow Constantine are going head-to-head to become King Countyâ€™s next Executive.
PRIMARY RESULTS & ELECTION STRATEGY:
As of August 27th, the most recently updated election results show Susan with about 33% of the primary votes. The results also show the four office-holding Democrats in the primary race (including Dow) with a cumulative 62% of the vote.
How will you go about attracting some of that 62% your way? we asked Susan.
â€œDow is so partisan. He just sees everything from the filter of his Democratic point of view. (Primary opponents) Fred Jarrett and Ross Hunter represented outsiders, as I did, and they did rather well,â€ she said.
â€œMost people looking at the vote results would say that the bulk of the votes went to outsider candidates. I would suggest that in fact the vote was very clearly for an outsider candidate.
â€œI think the way the voters divided us up was â€˜insider versus outsider.â€™ And the outsiders won big.â€
â€œI think a â€˜rainy day fundâ€™ is absolutely prudent government management,â€ she said.
â€œIn a (private sector) company, what you have is something called a cash reserve, and the finance department or board of directors is always looking at that cash reserve.
â€œItâ€™s understood that you are going to have good days and bad days. Good years and bad years. Youâ€™ve got to have the capability to cover using that cash reserve. That is just a basic principle of good accounting and money management in a company. And thatâ€™s why itâ€™s essential in government as well,â€ Susan said.
â€œWe are in a budget crisis. We can project now that between this year and next weâ€™re going to have a $110 million budget shortfall. We have to go back to first principles. That is â€˜what is the countyâ€™s job?â€™ And the countyâ€™s job is to provide safety and protection to its people.
â€œIt is really essential that we keep that in mind as we go through this process of trying to figure out how to make ends meet.
â€œThis budget crisis we are now in falls directly at the feet of the county council and its chair, Dow Constantine, because the council carries the power of the purse.
â€œWe cannot trust a politician who helped get us into this mess to get us out of it,â€ Susan said.
COMMENTS ABOUT BURIEN?
â€œOh, absolutely. I was there recently for two (campaign) forums. Burien has that â€˜Main Street USAâ€™ feel,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s terrific. Oh, and thereâ€™s great access to the airport when youâ€™re in Burien!â€
Susan says she supports annexation efforts.
â€œI just think itâ€™s important that the choice be given to the people. Thereâ€™ve been some efforts throughout the county to annex without the residents (of the unincorporated area) weighing in on that decision and I think thatâ€™s wrong.
â€œIâ€™m always with the people.â€
THE KIRO YEARS:
Susan spent 20 years with the KIRO-TV News department.
â€œCertainly one my most treasured memories of the job I did there was to write and produce a documentary on Chinese culture and history called â€˜Son of Heavenâ€™. I spent a lot of time in China doing the shooting and research. It won several Emmy awards and had a year-long run of attention.â€
Susan recounted the course of events that led up to her coming to KIRO:
After attending the University of Florida, she was working in television in Hawaii in the late 1970â€™s. Lloyd Cooney, who ran KIRO at the time, was visiting Hawaii and happened to see her delivering the news on a local channel. Cooney sent her a letter inviting her to consider working in Seattle.
â€œIt was months before I actually met Lloyd, but I eventually came to work at KIRO. I just loved Lloyd when I met him. Heâ€™s an amazing fellow.
â€œI still have the letter he sent me. Itâ€™s very precious.â€
- The General Election is November 3, and, like the primary, will be an all mail-in election.
- The B-Town Blog interviewed Dow Constantine the night of the August 18th primary and ran the interview the next day â€“ click here to read it.