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Sims and housing

Ron Sims

Ron Sims

Ron Sims, executive of King County for now into his third term, is a highly skilled politician – one of the best speakers in the Northwest, among other things – has been something of a political lightning rod for years. Enough that there’s been some talk that an attempt at a fourth term would be problematic. As recently as December 17, the Seattle Times was reporting, “If Ron Sims runs for a fourth term as King County executive, it will be against the advice of State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz, who has joined other former Sims political allies in pushing for him to step aside after next year.” Even some of his friends said they were “dreading the prospect of a campaign for a fourth term.”

Over on Sound Politics, you’ll find a hit from within a few hours of the nomination of Sims as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Oops. On the day that Ron Sims gets nominated to a senior position in the Obama administration, he reveals more ethical shortcomings by committing a serious PDC violation, earning himself a formal complaint. See the Twitter box in the upper right corner of the King County Executive web page. Since about 6pm Sunday it’s had a link to a P-I editorial promoting Sims’ preferred candidate for Elections Director.

That may not be all that comes to the Senate’s attention, but the guess here is that Sims won’t have much trouble with Senate confirmation. He does have support, to begin with, from both of his state’s senators, and the governor.

Although this is the number 2 slot at HUD, the agency’s press release says he “will be charged with managing HUD’s day-to-day operations, a nearly $39 billion annual operating budget and the agency’s 8,500 employees.” And, presumably, getting into housing policy to some extent.

Sims becomes, then, the top Northwest figure in the Obama Administration, in a position of some note since housing happens to be unusually central right now.

In thinking about his work at King County, “Sims” and “housing” don’t necessarily go smack-up together. That said, he is a strong and effective figure. Today’s Joni Balter column in the Times sums up the case for him.

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