Opinion

Late in expressing appreciation for Murray

Maybe Im just getting old, but Im beginning to appreciate Patty Murray.
I know Ive given her a hard time in the past because, I guess, when youve been exposed to the likes of U.S. Sens. Warren G. Magnuson, Henry M. Jackson, Slade Gorton and Dan Evans, you come to expect to have the best and brightest the state can offer to represent you in the other Washington.
Patty is not in that category of the exalted; few are, although Brock Adams was before he blew it. She doesnt have Maggies folksy charm, Jacksons stature as a manipulator of the mighty, Gortons brilliance and Evans administrative gifts.
But she has a sincerity of purpose and a dedication to her constituents that never lets up. When she gets her teeth into something like looking after veterans health and employment needs, she doesnt let go. She may not be the bulldog any of the others could be but shes as tenacious at minding the store for the state as a Labrador retriever is at guarding your house.
She is now, I believe, respected at the national level as she wasnt to begin with. She went there with Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and other political sophisticates with whom her kind just didnt fit. She was a freshman state senator whod gone to Olympia from a school board directorship and a stint as a teacher.
She kind of blended into the woodwork back there, popping out mostly over remarks such as the one about how the people in the Middle East probably appreciated Osama bin Laden for the work he did in establishing schools, day care and roads. I was among the critics. We had been acquaintances in Olympia although not exactly friends I try to get along with everybody whether I agree with them or not because the day will come when you need a quote and you have to be on speaking terms.
One day I got a letter from her press secretary asking me if I would meet with her and talk because he felt it would be helpful to the both of us. This was not her idea, but his. I said OK, but I never heard back. I could only assume Patty nixed it.
But time went by and I occasionally ran into her. She was unfailingly courteous, never exhibiting any resentment or hatred as I have run into with some of the other politicians I have nicked. She came to Silverdale the other day to speak to the Chamber of Commerce, a small, gray-haired figure who slipped quietly into the room without the usual clutch of aides as would have been the case with some of the exalted.
Regardless of the election outcome, said Sen. Murray, Good policy comes from reaching out to all. The key to getting things done is reaching out to other people.
We have to come together as a country, and do whats best for the country, not just for you and me. All of us share the same goal, being successful in bringing our troops home successfully.
She was outraged that the Veterans Administration Clinic in Bremerton was maxed out in care for returned veterans, and that jobs were difficult to find. Employers are concerned about hiring veterans who might be called back into service again, she said. We have to make sure there is health care for them and we owe them a job when they come home.
When she was through and leaving, she walked over to where I sat and put out her hand, smiling. Its a long time since Ive seen you, she said, How are you? Im fine, I said, shaking her hand. I didnt say it then, but I thought it. You know, Patty, Im late in realizing or expressing it, but youre pretty fine yourself.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at P O. Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.

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