“Reversing the trend in persistent and deepening inequality toward promotion of opportunity and inclusion is our region’s most pressing problem and my highest priority. The evidence and research, including that developed by the OECD, shows that more equitable regions have stronger and longer economic growth. Businesses need a trained and productive workforce, middle-class consumers drive demand, and we avoid the high monetary and social costs of bad outcomes when everyone is able to fulfil their potential. Simply put, prosperity that is unshared is prosperity that is unsustainable.”
– King County Executive Dow Constantine
Serving his third-term as King County Executive, Dow Constantine leads one of the largest regional governments in the United States. He believes every person should be able to thrive, be economically secure, and contribute to community life.
He is focused on meeting two of the greatest generational challenges of our time: building equity and opportunity, and confronting climate change. Guiding every initiative is the goal of becoming the most forward looking, best run government in the nation.
Dow led the County’s successful effort to enroll nearly 200,000 residents in affordable healthcare. He created partnerships to preserve the longest remaining natural shoreline in Puget Sound, united local cities to aggressively reduce climate pollution, and worked with Public Health and Planned Parenthood to cut the teen birth rate by more than half. Dow also placed the nation’s largest order for battery powered buses, set the course for King County’s public transit system to become a zero-emission transit fleet, and led the Board of the three-county agency Sound Transit in creating a regional light rail expansion plan strongly endorsed by voters in 2016.
For his work improving efficiency and accountability, Governing Magazine named Dow a nationwide Public Official of the Year in 2016. In recognition of the county’s success in teaming with employees to save tens of millions of dollars in healthcare costs, Dow received the prestigious Innovations in American Government award from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, along with the Leaders in Healthcare recognition from Seattle Business Magazine.
Since he was elected Executive in 2009, Dow has worked to instill a culture of performance, engaging and empowering employees to continuously improve how King County does business. His reform agenda put King County on sound financial footing; his biennial budgets have consistently maintained costs below the rate of inflation and population. Since 2009, King County has taken advantage of its strong bond ratings to strategically re-finance 14 times for total debt service savings of more than $500 million.
King County has produced the first Strategic Plan for Equity and Social Justice (ESJ), co-created with employees and community partners. The Plan is a blueprint for action and change that will guide a pro-equity policy direction, decision-making, planning, operations and services, and workplace practices in order to advance equity and social justice within County government and in partnership with communities.
Best Starts for Kids is a voter-approved initiative led by Executive Constantine to help put every child in King County on a path toward lifelong success.
It invests in prevention and early intervention strategies that promote healthier, more resilient children, youth, families and communities. It is considered the most comprehensive approach to early childhood development in the United States, starting with prenatal support, sustaining the gain through teenage years, and investing in safe, healthy communities that reinforce progress.
Best Starts for Kids, based on the latest neuroscience research, is available to all parents and caregivers so that every child and youth in our region has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.