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King County Executive candidate Dow Constantine woos suburbs

King County executive candidate Dow Constantine has vowed to cut executive staff if elected, but there's one senior position he intends to add: a liaison for non-Seattle jurisdictions.

That promise came as the county councilmember opened a new campaign headquarters in Bellevue and rolled out his "Uniting King County" plan Thursday.

State Sen. Fred Jarrett of Mercer Island, who ran against Constantine in the primary, spoke in favor of his former adversary at the event.

"Ideas are important, but you also have to know how to implement those ideas," he told The Reporter in a telephone interview. "My judgement as to where Dow's strengths are is that he understands the county."

Constantine has been currying favor with suburban and rural cities as his opponent, former KIRO-TV news anchor Susan Hutchison, continues to insist that the county government has ignored those areas.

Hutchison was the leader in a recent KING5/SurveyUSA poll that showed 47 percent of likely voters would choose her as the next executive as opposed to 44 percent for Constantine. Ten percent of the people surveyed indicated they were still undecided.

In response to Constantine's plan to create a liaison position, Hutchison's campaign said:

"Susan has already proposed her plan to convene all of the County's mayors bi-annually for a mutual exchange of concerns and ideas. King County does not need to another six figure salaried staff person to improve relations with smaller cities; King County needs an Executive who will do that."

Other elements of the Constantine plan include calls for more collaboration with the Puget Sound Regional Council, streamlining of permitting processes, re-visiting business taxes, and a renewed emphasis on parks and public safety.

Hutchison says her opponent is gleaning ideas that she presented early in the race.

"Constantine's 'new ideas' are simply a copy of what Susan has promoted consistently throughout the campaign," the statement from her campaign said.

Hutchison was the first candidate during the primary race to call for a Bellevue representative on the Sound Transit board of directors. Constantine told The Reporter last week that he supports that idea.

Hutchison said she would offer a plan of her own after interim Executive Kurt Triplett released his budget Monday, after The Reporter deadline.

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