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Patty Murray

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Title: Patty Murray  
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Subject: United States Senate election in Washington, 1998, United States Senate election in Washington, 2004, United States Senate election in Washington, 2010, 112th United States Congress, Mike Enzi
Collection: 1950 Births, American People of French-Canadian Descent, American People of Irish Descent, American People of Scottish Descent, American People of Welsh Descent, Democratic Party United States Senators, Female United States Senators, Living People, People from Bothell, Washington, United States Senators from Washington (State), Washington (State) Democrats, Washington (State) State Senators, Washington State University Alumni, Women State Legislators in Washington (State)
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Patty Murray

Patty Murray
United States Senator
from Washington
Assumed office
January 3, 1993
Serving with Maria Cantwell
Preceded by Brock Adams
Democratic Caucus Secretary
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Leader Harry Reid
Preceded by Debbie Stabenow
Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Kent Conrad
Succeeded by Mike Enzi
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Daniel Akaka
Succeeded by Bernie Sanders
Member of the Washington Senate
from the 1st legislative district
In office
January 9, 1989 – January 11, 1993
Preceded by Bill Kiskaddon
Succeeded by Rosemary McAuliffe
Personal details
Born Patricia Lynn Johns
(1950-10-11) October 11, 1950
Bothell, Washington, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Rob Murray
Children Randy
Residence Whidbey Island, Washington[1]
Alma mater Washington State University, Pullman
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Senate website

Patricia Lynn "Patty" Murray (née Johns; October 11, 1950) is the senior United States Senator from Washington and a member of the Democratic Party. Murray was first elected to the Senate in 1992, becoming Washington's first female senator. Re-elected in 1998, 2004 and 2010, Murray has announced that she will seek a fifth term in 2016.[1]

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.[2][3] Murray chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2001 to 2003 and again from 2011 to 2013.[4] Murray chaired the Senate Budget Committee from 2013 to 2015.[5] She also previously served as co-chair of the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.[6] Beginning in January 2015, Murray will be the Ranking Democratic Member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.[7] She is currently the 12th most senior member of the United States Senate.

On December 10, 2013, Murray and Republican Representative Paul Ryan announced that they had negotiated a two-year, bipartisan budget, known as the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.[8]


  • Early life 1
  • Early career 2
  • United States Senator 3
    • Committee assignments 3.1
    • Caucus memberships 3.2
    • Legislation 3.3
  • Political positions 4
    • Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 4.1
    • Global Trade Exchange 4.2
    • Fiscal year 2014 federal budget 4.3
    • Health care 4.4
    • Other 4.5
    • 2008 presidential election 4.6
  • Political campaigns 5
    • 1992 5.1
    • 1998 5.2
    • 2004 5.3
    • 2010 5.4
  • Electoral history 6
  • Personal life 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

One of seven children, Murray was born in Bothell, Washington, to Beverly A. (née McLaughlin) and David L. Johns.[9] Her mother was an accountant. Her father fought in World War II and was awarded a Purple Heart. Her ancestry includes Welsh, Irish, Scottish, and French-Canadian roots.[9] When she was a teenager, her family was forced to apply for welfare assistance when her father became disabled due to the onset of multiple sclerosis. He had been the manager of a five-and-ten store.[10] She attended Saint Brendan Catholic School as a young child.

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 1984–87.[11]

Early career

As a citizen-lobbyist for environmental and educational issues, she says she was once told by a state representative that she could not make a difference because she was just a "mom in tennis shoes". The phrase stuck, and she later used it in her successful campaigns for Shoreline School District Board of Directors (1985–1989), Washington State Senate (1989–1993), and United States Senate (1993–present). Murray was successful in gathering grassroots support to strike down proposed preschool program budget cuts.[12][13]

Her 1988 State Senate campaign was successful and she unseated two-term incumbent Republican Bill Kiskaddon.

United States Senator

Senator Murray at the podium, joined by (left to right), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), launching an interactive website regarding the nomination of Judge John Roberts as the Chief Justice of the United States.

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships


On February 28, 2013, Murray introduced the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act into the United States Senate. The bill would prevent the United States Forest Service from removing a building from the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area in the State of Washington unless the agency determines that the structure is unsafe for visitors.[14] Murray argued that the bill should be passed in order to help the tourism industry in the area, but protecting the lookout point in question.[15] The bill would be "a very small step in what will be a very long recovery" and that it would "provide a glimmer of hope for the long-term recovery of this area."[15] Murray was referring to the recovery of the area from the casualties and damage caused by the 2014 Oso mudslide. The bill passed in both the House and the Senate.

Political positions

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Galen Jackman briefs Senator Patty Murray on the Manned Ground Vehicle program in Washington D.C.

In October 2002, Murray was one of 21 Democrats in the Senate to vote against the War Authoritization for invading Iraq. Quoted from her Senate speech:

Mr. President, if we do take action in Iraq, there is no doubt that our armed forces will prevail. We will win a war with Iraq decisively, and, God willing, we will win it quickly. But what happens after the war? That will have as big an impact on our future peace and security. Will we be obligated to rebuild Iraq? If so, how? Our economy is reeling, our budget is in deficit, and we have no estimate of the cost of rebuilding. And with whom? As New York Times columnist Tom Friedman points out, there's a retail store mentality that suggests to some – if "you break it, you buy it."

In December 2002, while speaking to students at Columbia River High School in Vancouver, Murray made a number of remarks about Osama bin Laden, as she attempted to explain why the US had such problems winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world, and how bin Laden had garnered support among some in the Middle East. Among other things, she had stated that bin Laden has "been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building daycare facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. He's made their lives better. We have not done that." This attracted attention from political opponents, who argued that this constituted support for bin Laden. Republican state chairman Chris Vance was outraged, and said it was "despicable to imply that the American government should learn a lesson from the madman who murdered thousands of American citizens".[16][17][18]

Global Trade Exchange

Senator Patty Murray put the controversial intelligence ports-data project Global Trade Exchange into the Homeland security budget.

Fiscal year 2014 federal budget

On December 10, 2013, Murray announced that she and Republican Representative Paul Ryan had reached a compromise agreement on a two-year, bipartisan budget bill, called the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. The deal would cap the federal government's spending for Fiscal Year 2014 at $1.012 trillion and for Fiscal Year 2015 at $1.014 trillion.[19] The proposed deal would eliminate some of the spending cuts required by the sequester by $45 billion of the cuts scheduled to happen in January and $18 billion of the cuts scheduled to happen in 2015.[19] This does not decrease federal spending; instead, by reducing the amount of spending cuts the government was going to be forced to make by the sequester, it actually increases government spending by $45 billion and $18 billion over what would have been spent had the sequester remained in place. The deal is supposed to make up for this increase in spending by raising airline fees and changing the pension contribution requirements of new federal workers.[20] The eliminated sequester cuts were spread evenly between defense spending and non-defense discretionary spending.[21] The bill did not make any changes to entitlement programs.[20]

The deal was scheduled to be voted on first in the House and then the Senate. Some people believed House Democrats would pass the deal as a way to reduce the sequester cuts.[22] However, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) told a morning news show on December 12, 2013, that "members of his party are outraged that House Republicans are planning to adjourn without addressing unemployment benefits."[23] Van Hollen said that "it is too early to say" whether a majority of House Democrats would vote in favor of the budget bill.[23] The deal was also unpopular with many conservatives.[24]

Health care

In 2014, Murray introduced legislation in the Senate called The Emergency Contraception Access and Education Act. Her bill received a number of cosponsors including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Boxer, Richard Blumenthal and Cory Booker. The bill would change the law to make hospitals that receive federal money to provide rape victims with emergency contraception.[25] Murray has earned a reputation as an advocate for access to quality healthcare for women. In July 2014, she pushed an amendment to a bill in the Senate that would make sure that health insurance plans offer contraceptive coverage to patients regardless of employers' beliefs, religious or otherwise. Her amendment required 60 votes to move forward, and all but three Republican Senators voted against the measure.[26]


In May 2006, Murray, along with 38 of 44 Senate Democrats, voted in favor of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611).[27] The bill includes provisions to improve border security, increases fines and other punishments for employers of illegal immigrants, creation of a guest worker program (which includes an almost doubling of the number of H-1B visas),[28] and creates a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.[29] The bill, with support from some in the GOP leadership, passed 62-36.

Murray repeatedly cosponsored legislation to create the Bush on May 8, 2008.[31] Murray has also supported legislation to increase the size of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, also in the Washington Cascades.[32]

On August 2, 2006, the New York Times said, "In 1994, Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was said to have engaged in excessive touching of his then-freshman colleague Patty Murray of Washington. Ms. Murray later asked for and received an apology from Mr. Thurmond, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported at the time. Through a spokeswoman, Ms. Murray declined to comment."[33]

2008 presidential election

On January 30, 2008, Murray endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries.[34] One month later, the Washington Democratic caucus awarded two-thirds of its delegates to Barack Obama and one-third to Clinton. After Clinton's June 7 concession, Murray switched her endorsement to Obama.[35]

Political campaigns


In 1992, Murray announced her intention to run for the U.S. Senate following the publication of a series of articles by George H. W. Bush in the Pacific Northwest.


In 1998, Murray faced Representative Linda Smith, a staunch conservative and maverick who was one of nine House Republicans to vote against confirming House Speaker Newt Gingrich in early 1997, opposed gay rights and viewed homosexuality as a "morally unfit inclination."[38] Murray won re-election by 58% to 42%.


In 2004, Murray faced another Republican Representative, Tom Foley in 1994. Nethercutt was also hampered by his lack of name recognition in the more densely populated western part of the state, home to two-thirds of the state's population. Washington has not elected a Senator from east of the Cascades since Miles Poindexter in 1916. Other important issues included national security and the war in Iraq. Nethercutt supported the invasion of Iraq, while Murray opposed it. Nethercutt was a heavy underdog from the start and his campaign never gained much traction. In the general election, Murray was re-elected by 55% to 43%.


The 2010 election was the first Senate election to be held under the new blanket primary since Initiative 872 had passed in 2004. In the August 17 primary, Murray appeared on the ballot alongside four other Democratic candidates, six Republican candidates, a Reform Party candidate and three Independent candidates. Murray received a plurality, 46%, and advanced to the general election along with her main Republican challenger, former State Senator and two-time gubernatorial nominee Dino Rossi, who received 33%.[39][40] Leading up to the election, Murray was endorsed by several prominent Washington State newspapers.[41][42][43][44] Rossi conceded the election to Murray on November 4, 2010, two days after election day. The final tally showed Murray with 52% to Rossi's 48%, enabling Murray to go on to serve a fourth term in the United States Senate.

Electoral history

Washington Senator (Class III) results: 1992–2010[45]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1992 Patty Murray 1,197,973 54% Rod Chandler 1,020,829 46%
1998 Patty Murray 1,103,184 58% Linda Smith 785,377 42%
2004 Patty Murray 1,549,708 55% George R. Nethercutt, Jr. 1,204,584 43% J. Mills Libertarian 34,055 1% Mark B. Wilson Green 30,304 1%
2010 Patty Murray 1,314,930 52% Dino Rossi 1,196,164 48%

Personal life

Murray is married to Rob Murray and has two grown children, Sara and Randy. Murray's hometown is Bothell, Washington, but now lives on Whidbey Island, Washington.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Brunner, Jim (February 9, 2014). "Patty Murray to seek fifth Senate term in 2016".  
  2. ^ "Reid announces Democratic leadership for the 110th Congress". November 14, 2006. Retrieved January 10, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Senator Harry Reid, Majority Leader". November 18, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Washington State Sen. Patty Murray To Head DSCC For 2012 Election Cycle – ABC News". November 30, 2010. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ Sahil Kapur Thursday November 15, 2012 (November 15, 2012). "Patty Murray To Chair The Senate Budget Committee | TPM LiveWire". Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ Walsh, Deirdre (August 10, 2011). "Reid taps Sen. Murray to co-chair debt committee". CNN. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Senate Democrats lock in key committee memberships." The Hill. (December 12, 2014).
  8. ^ "Murray and Ryan Introduce Bipartisan Budget-Conference Agreement". House of Representatives Committee on the Budget. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Patty Murray Genealogy
  10. ^
  11. ^ "MURRAY, Patty -- Biographical Information". U.S. Congress. Retrieved August 24, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Senator Patty Murray – About". U.S. Senate. 
  13. ^ "Senator Patty Murray co-chairs the deficit commission but can’t connect dots". August 11, 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  14. ^ "S. 404 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved April 5, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Cox, Ramsey (April 3, 2014). "Senate approves small bill to help Oso recovery". The Hill. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Nethercutt uses Osama bin Laden in ad assailing Murray". USA Today. September 29, 2004. Retrieved February 24, 2007. 
  17. ^ Gregg Herrington (December 19, 2002). "U.S. Sen. Patty Murray – Senator asks students to ponder". The Columbian. Archived from the original on December 28, 2002. Retrieved February 24, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Murray's remarks on bin Laden draw GOP ire". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. December 21, 2002. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  19. ^ a b Desjardins, Lisa (December 10, 2013). "The budget deal in plain English". CNN. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Eric Wasson; Russell Berman (December 11, 2013). "Ryan deal gets positive review at closed-door GOP conference". The Hill. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  21. ^ Klein, Ezra (December 10, 2013). "Here's what's in Paul Ryan and Patty Murray's mini-budget deal". Washington Post. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  22. ^ Kasperowicz, Pete (December 11, 2013). "Wednesday: Assessing the budget deal". The Hill. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Cusack, Bob (December 12, 2013). "Van Hollen: 'Too early to say' if most Democrats will back budget deal". The Hill. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  24. ^ Wasson, Erik (December 11, 2013). "Conservatives: Ryan not tarnished by 'bad' deal". The Hill. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  25. ^ Alter, Charlotte (September 23, 2014). "Lawmakers Push Increased Access to Emergency Contraception". TIME Magazine. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  26. ^ Song, Kyung M. (July 16, 2014). "Senate GOP blocks Patty Murray’s contraception coverage bill". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  27. ^ "On Passage of the Bill (S. 2611 As Amended )". United States Senate. May 25, 2006. Retrieved February 24, 2007. 
  28. ^ "Senate immigration bill raises H-1B limit". InfoWorld. May 25, 2006. Retrieved February 24, 2007. 
  29. ^ "S.2611". Library of Congress. Retrieved February 24, 2007. 
  30. ^ Sam Goldfarb (February 7, 2007). "Wild Sky wilderness bill back in Congress". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 24, 2007. 
  31. ^ Daly, Matthew (May 8, 2008). "Bush signs Wild Sky wilderness bill". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 8, 2008. 
  32. ^ Lynda V. Mapes (March 27, 2009). "More land sought for Alpine Lakes Wilderness". Seattle Times. Retrieved March 27, 2009. 
  33. ^ Joel Connelly (February 4, 2013). "Sen. Thurmond’s mixed race daughter dies at 87". Seattle PI. Retrieved April 24, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Washington Senator Patty Murray Endorses Clinton" (Press release). Hillary for President. January 30, 2008. Retrieved February 29, 2008. 
  35. ^ "Murray Gets Behind Obama". The Columbian. June 9, 2008. 
  36. ^ David Wilma (September 10, 2004). "Adams, Brock (1927–2004)". Retrieved February 24, 2007. 
  37. ^ Cantwell snubs McGavick on debates By Joel Connelly Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  38. ^
  39. ^ Balter, Joni (January 29, 2010). "Dino Rossi and the Scott Brown effect in Washington". The Seattle Times. 
  40. ^ Time Archived from the original on April 26, 2010. 
  41. ^ The Times endorses the re-election of Sen. Patty Murray. The Seattle Times, October 8, 2010
  42. ^ Re-elect Patty Murray to the U.S. Senate, The News Tribune, October 10, 2010.
  43. ^ Murray has earned a fourth term, editorial board, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 11, 2010
  44. ^ On balance, Murray is better choice for Senate, The News Tribune, October 24, 2010
  45. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved August 8, 2007. 

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Brock Adams
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Washington
(Class 1)

1992, 1998, 2004, 2010
Most recent
Preceded by
Robert Torricelli
Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Succeeded by
Jon Corzine
Preceded by
Debbie Stabenow
Secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference
Preceded by
Bob Menendez
Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Succeeded by
Michael Bennet
United States Senate
Preceded by
Brock Adams
United States Senator (Class 3) from Washington
Served alongside: Slade Gorton, Maria Cantwell
Preceded by
Daniel Akaka
Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
Succeeded by
Bernie Sanders
New office Chairman of the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee
Position abolished
Preceded by
Kent Conrad
Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee
Succeeded by
Mike Enzi
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Barbara Boxer
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Jim Inhofe
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