Sen. Patty Murray touted her record of sending money home to Washington state at the opening day of the state Democratic convention Friday.
She said she had just come from the opening of a nursing home for elderly veterans in Lakewood. The 2001 Nisqually earthquake damaged the old center, and she said plans to build a new one languished because of a lack of funding.
“So you know what I did? I went back and I got one of these earmarks,” she told the crowd.
Murray is known for her clout and ability to pull down federal funding. Republican challenger Dino Rossi has said that unlike his Democratic opponent, he wouldn’t pursue earmarks for Washington. It’s pork, he says.
Democrats gathered in Vancouver, Wash., as the party is on the defensive nationally. Parties usually lose ground in congressional elections when their party controls the White House, and voters often turn to the opposition party during economic downturns. Add to that tax increases and budget cuts in Olympia that have left no one happy.
But Murray gave a strong defense of her party’s record, one that seemed intended to rev up the party faithful to the levels of excitement seen during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign by reminding them how bad things were in 2008.
“Our economy was losing 700,000 jobs a month, your kids were kicked off their health insurance when they turned 18, seniors were falling in the doughnut hole,” Murray said, adding to the list war, tax cuts for wealthy people and “a loss of respect in the worldwide community. Those times were absolutely no laughing matter.”
She said Democrats, by passing a health care overhaul and making other changes, have started the work of bringing change, but said it isn’t easy, and requires overcoming Republicans’ “efforts to stop progress.”