Patty Murray

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Patty Murray

Patricia Lynn "Patty" Murray is a Democratic member of the United States Senate, representing the state of Washington.

Early life

Born in Bothell, Washington, in 1950, Patty Murray is one of seven children. Her father earned the Purple Heart as one of the first G.I.’s to land on Okinawa. He returned home to run a local five and ten cents shop on Main Street in Bothell. Her mother was a homemaker and accountant. Murray is a graduate of Washington State University. She is married to Rob Murray and has two grown children, Sara and Randy.[1]


Murray received her Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education from Washington State University in 1972. She was a preschool teacher for several years and taught a parenting class at Shoreline Community College from 1984 to 1987.[2]

Political career

In the 1980’s, when a state politician told her she “couldn’t make a difference,” Patty Murray led a grassroots coalition of 13,000 parents to save a local preschool program from budget cuts. She went on to serve on the local school board, and in 1988 was elected to the Washington State Senate.

In 1992, Murray ran for the United States Senate as a "voice for Washington families who were not being heard in the Senate". Dramatically outspent, Murray ran a grassroots campaign of family, friends, supporters, and public interest groups to beat a 10-year veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives and become the first woman to represent Washington state in the U.S. Senate. Senator Murray was re-elected in 1998, 2004, and 2010, and is currently Washington’s senior Senator.

Patty Murray has drawn on her experience as a PTA member and a school board president to make education a national priority. She successfully sponsored the bill to help schools hire new, qualified teachers to reduce class size. She has worked to increase Pell grants to make college more affordable, is a national advocate for disadvantaged, homeless, and migrant students, and has fought for improvements to "No Child Left Behind."[3]

Murray has served as the Senate Majority Conference Secretary since 2007, making her the fourth highest-ranking Democrat and the highest-ranking woman in the Senate.

Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2001 to 2003, Murray assumed the role again in early 2011, for a term ending in 2013. She is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Supported by Council for a Livable World


The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Patty Murray in her successful Senate run as candidate for Washington.[4]

The Council also supported Murray in her 2010 election campaign.[5]

According to the 2010 Patty Murray endorsement on the Coalition's website;

Patty Murray has made a difference, particularly on arms control, nuclear disarmament and foreign policy. In 2002, Murray was one of 23 Senators to vote against the President's request for authority to take military action in Iraq..,In key Senate votes, she supported amendments to bring U.S. troops out of Iraq, opposed funding for a new generation of nuclear weapons and voted against amendments to increase national missile defense funding.

Opposed the Iraq War

The following is a list of the 23 U.S. Senators voting "Nay" on the Iraq War resolution in October 2002. The vote was 77-23 in favor of the resolution.

Daniel Akaka (D - Hawaii), Jeff Bingaman (D - N.M.), Barbara Boxer (D - Calif.), Robert Byrd (D - W. Va.), Lincoln Chafee (R - R.I.), Kent Conrad (D - N.D.), Jon Corzine (D - N.J.), Mark Dayton (D - Minn.), Dick Durbin (D - Ill.), Russ Feingold (D - Wis.), Bob Graham (D - Fla.) [Retired, 2004], Daniel Inouye (D - Hawaii), Jim Jeffords (I - Vt.), Ted Kennedy (D - Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D - Vt.), Carl Levin (D - Mich.), Barbara Mikulski (D - Md.), Patty Murray (D - Wash.), Jack Reed (D - R.I.), Paul Sarbanes (D - Md.), Debbie Stabenow (D - Mich.), Paul Wellstone (D - Minn.) [Dec. 2002] and Ron Wyden (D - Ore.).


Senator Murray serves as the chair of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations subcommittee, which oversees the nation’s transportation and housing budget. Murray has advocated for increases in highway funding to help alleviate the transportation problems facing Washington state and communities around the country. She has helped Washington state address its transportation woes by dramatically increasing the annual funding the state receives for specific projects including roads, bridges, railways, airports, and ferries in every corner of the state.

In her role overseeing the Department of Housing and Urban Development's budget, Murray has worked to increase free, effective housing counseling services and increase funding for Community Development Block Grants, HOPE VI and section 8 housing initiatives, and homeless veterans housing.

Senator Murray is also a staunch advocate for America's aerospace industry and has been a leading critic of the Air Force's decision to give a $35 billion air tanker refueling contract to Airbus - a foreign-owned and subsidized company.[6]

EMILY's List

Murray has been supported by EMILY's List during her campaigning.

Communist Party connections

CLUW 1997 conference

Speakers at the November 1997 Coalition of Labor Union Women conference in Seattle, included Richard Trumka, and Linda Chavez-Thompson of the AFL-CIO, Nancy Riche, executive VP of of the Canadian Labor Congress and Senator Patty Murray and Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington State.[7]

CLUW 2003 Seattle conference


“We’re going to use our saw to trim that shrub,” vowed carpenter and Communist Party USA supporter Pat Stell, using the tools of her trade to describe the role of union women in next year’s presidential campaign. “He is not of sufficient stature to qualify as a bush,” she added to cheers. The vice-president of Washington State Coalition of Labor Union Women welcomed the 800 delegates from local chapters and national unions to that organization’s biennial convention in Seattle, Oct. 9.

CLUW President Gloria Johnson set a tone of determined defiance to the Bush administration “running roughshod over our schools and reproductive rights, invading our privacy, and other nations.” Taking on the Patriot Act and its assault on civil liberties, Johnson challenged the assembly, “Do we want to go back to the days of McCarthyism?” “No!” they roared back. “Hell no!” Johnson added.

CLUW’s role in the 2004 elections is to make the women’s vote the decisive one, said Johnson, who was also a member of the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO. CLUW’s officers represent 17 international unions and the striking diversity of the organization’s membership.

Health care was a major focus of the delegates, with five chapters introducing resolutions in support of HR 676, Rep. John Conyers’ (D-Mich.) bill that would provide expanded and improved Medicare-type coverage for all Americans.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) declared that in her state “we don’t just encourage and empower women, we elect ’em.” Both of that state’s U.S. senators are women, as are a majority of its supreme court justices and a larger percentage of state legislators than any other state in the U.S. Murray announced plans for legislation to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act so that parents could take time off work to attend school conferences.

Murray pointed to the convention’s theme “Vision, Voices, Votes” as the same plan of attack that led to victory recently in stopping the Bush administration’s attack on overtime pay. “We need to give people the vision, make their voices heard, and count the votes,” she said.

“In the scheme of things, there are them and us,” said Democratic Socialists of America member and Coalition of Black Trade Unionists President William Lucy, going on to describe “all-out class warfare between those who have the power to make the rich richer and the rest of us who just want a good life.” In the light of 3.1 million jobs lost under Bush, “the stock market going up has nothing to do with you and me,” he added. Lucy asked CLUW members to be recruits in an army to educate the labor movement on the value of labor’s constituency groups. Lucy said these organizations will meet in coming weeks to organize local issue forums and policy seminars. “We need to take the offensive against those who would take us out. We can’t let them pick us off one by one. We are intending to educate this nation about critical issues facing working people. All we have to do is tell the truth.” Lucy called for the rejection of Bush’s $87 billion Iraq fund, calling it merely a down payment for what will be a tremendous financial burden to come.

Christina King, 22, called the convention “an eye-opening experience.” The third-year sound and communications apprentice, a member of IBEW Local 11 in Los Angeles, told Communist Party USA reporter Roberta Wood, “I knew what was going on in the world, it was out there, but I didn’t know how it impacted us, things like health care.”[8]

Other attendees included communist Irene Hull, and electricians Diane Limon and Julie Hazuka.[9]

Communist Party support

In 1998, according to Communist Party of Washington State chairman B. J. Mangaoang, the "Party weighed in Democratic Senator Patty Murray and to unseat three ultra-right GOP house members."[10]

Meeting with Lonnie Nelson

Communist Party USA member Lonnie Nelson, 76, has worked in packing, sorting, vegetable processing and child care, but has never earned more than $8.50 an hour. Now she says she relies on the Puget Sound Labor Agency to keep food on the table, and she wants the unions that support the PSLA food bank to know she is grateful.

"I am really appreciative of the unions that contribute to the Puget Sound Labor Agency's food bank," Nelson said, but added that the problem will only get worse unless unions are strengthened to empower workers to raise wages. "Food banks are trying to pick up the loose ends, but if we keep lowering wages, we're going to have more retirees like myself who don't make enough to get by."

Nelson was part of a roundtable discussion held at the Seattle Labor Temple August 18, 2008 with Sen. Patty Murray, Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess, and several clients and directors of area food banks.

Sen. Murray toured the Puget Sound Labor Agency food bank and then participated in the discussion on growing needs at area food banks caused by food and fuel inflation, and a slumping national economy. She said the farm bill passed earlier this year included improvements for food assistance programs, but much more needs to be done. She added that events like Monday's tour and forum have made her "increasingly aware that as food prices increase, many more families are going hungry."

"This (forum) has been very helpful," Murray said. "At the federal level, we have got to pass a supplemental bill (on food assistance). That's the message I will take back to Congress." [11]

Social Security birthday

A 75th Birthday Celebration of Social Security featuring US Sen. Patty Murray, US Rep. Jim McDermott and others was held August 16, 2010, at the Phinney Neighborhood Association’s Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N. 85th St. in Seattle.

There was birthday cake (donated by AFT Washington’s Retirees Chapter) and a sparkling apple cider toast (by the WSLC’s Jeff Johnson) as participants stress the importance of the Social Security system and the importance of stopping those who would use the deficit as an excuse to attack the program and cuts its benefits.

The event was organized by the Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans and Social Security Works – Washington which includes the Coalition of Labor Union Women,Puget Sound Chapter APALA, Seattle Chapter, Physicians for a National Health Program, Western Washington chapter, Washington State Jobs with Justice.[12][13]

Grant to communist led board

Roslyn's Old City Hall building was affected by the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, revealing major structural issues with the old building. A committee appointed by the city began working on finding ways to address needed changes in the structure. Fundraising began. A major grant made possible by Sen. Patty Murray sealed the deal for the first phase of the improvements, in September 2010.

Marc Brodine, chairman of the Roslyn Library Board of Directors, and of the Washington State Communist Party USA, said many in the community were looking forward to the day the project would start.

"We're very excited to see it begin," he said Monday. "This phase one is crucial to saving this historic building."[14]

Communist Party campaigners

Tim Wheeler, center

In 2010, Communist Party USA members Tim Wheeler and Joyce Wheeler worked in Patty Murray's campaign in Sequim, Washington State.

Tim Wheeler wrote in the Peoples World;[15]

The highest profile election victory here Nov. 2 was the reelection of Sen. Patty Murray. She defeated Republican Dino Rossi by more than 100,000 votes.
I was asked to coordinate street-corner "waves" for Murray here in my hometown. We could tell Murray was doing well by the number of motorists, especially women, who honked and gave us the thumbs-up salute, far outnumbering the Republicans who gave us a sour look and the thumbs-down.

My wife Joyce and I spent one afternoon canvassing for Murray up on Bell Hill, where my family once owned a dairy farm. It is now crowded with luxury homes with panoramic views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Mount Baker.
One wealthy resident told me she had already mailed in her ballot, marked for Patty Murray, and was "praying for our country," that voters reject the lies of the rightwing demagogues. I told her that in my youth, I herded cows on what is now her front lawn...
Washington State voters helped put up a firewall against the ultra-right in reelecting Murray, blocking a GOP majority takeover of the Senate. Victory was won when the coalition of unions and other progressive organizations succeeded in getting out the vote.

Party leaders

As of 2012, party leaders of the Democratic National Committee were;[16]

  • Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Chairman
  • Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Democratic Governors Association Chair
  • Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), Democratic Congressional Committee Chair
  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair


The following are past and present staff:[17]

External links