Ed Murray has represented Seattle’s 43rd Legislative District since 1995 and is the Senate Majority Leader.
He was the prime sponsor of Washington state’s historic marriage equality law, which voters upheld by approving Referendum 74 in the 2012 general election.
In 2011, as chair of the Ways & Means Committee, he worked with his Republican counterpart to bridge a shortfall without eliminating major programs or raising major taxes. For the first time in memory, the state budget received broad support from both Democrats and Republicans.
Years of concern over the possible collapse of funding for arts programs were addressed in 2011 by a bill sponsored by Murray to extend a lodging tax and dedicating a portion to arts and culture programs. In the future, a portion of the funding will also go to affordable housing and services for homeless youth.
As a lawmaker, Murray has focused on protecting civil rights and the vulnerable, as well as building bridges – both literally and figuratively – between Washington’s communities.
During his time in the House, he was chair of the Capital Budget Committee, where he drove legislation that doubled funding for low-income housing.
Murray was also chair of the House Transportation Committee, where he negotiated an end to gridlock on transportation reforms, producing the first new revenue package and major transportation construction package in 13 years. He followed two years later with another statewide package of projects, including the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle. Together, the 2003 and 2005 packages represent the largest investment in Washington’s transportation infrastructure in the state’s history.
He also successfully sponsored landmark legislation matching Washington’s car emission standards to the highest in the nation.
Murray is perhaps best known for his continuous work on civil rights. The 2002 Safe Schools bill, which he prime-sponsored, protects sexual minority youth in schools from physical and verbal harassment.
Murray was the prime sponsor of a bill banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation signed into law in 2006, capping a 30-year effort by the gay and lesbian community. He next prime-sponsored three consecutive bills creating and expanding domestic partnership rights and benefits for same-sex couples in Washington.
Although this incremental approach to establishing equality for gays and lesbians first met resistance, it ultimately led to the passage of Murray’s marriage equality law this year, which made Washington the seventh state in the nation to give gays and lesbians the right to marry.
Several organizations have recognized Murray for his work. His honors include: the 2002 Human Rights Campaign: Leadership Equality Award; the 2005 Anti-Defamation League’s Cal Anderson Award; the 2006 Distinguished Public Service Award from the Washington State Psychological Association; the 2009 Legislator of the Year Award from the Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs; and the 2012 Warren G. Magnuson Award.