Sunday, May 07, 2006

Wes Uhlman--Seattle Mayor

Nobody changed the face of local politics more than Wes Uhlman, a state legislator with "Kennedy type" charisma, Wes was elected mayor in 1969. Before Uhlman, Seattle Mayors were stiff executives who drew little attention to themselves. Wes was ambitious and driven with a "take no prisoners" attitude which made some enemies.
Seattle lost their first major league team (the Pilots) during Wes Uhlman's first term.That did very little to damage him politically. But some appointments in his administration, caused a recall attempt in his second term. It failed badly for his foes and made Uhlman stronger as he sought to become governor of Washington in 1976. Wes was a friend of my Uncle Arny so I campaigned hard for him, but like the rest of the nation, Washington felt it did not need what was perceived to be the stereotypic polititian, reeling from Watergate, outsider Dixie Lee Ray won the Democratic nomination as well as the election.
Wes is out of politics and into land development, but his style was copied by three subsequent Seattle Mayors. Posted by Picasa


Dave Zarkin said...

I used to pass Dixie Lee Ray's office when I was an undergrad at UDub in the 50s. Think she was biology prof and was a one-term governor. I always pictured Dixie Lee in blonde ringlets with a parasol. Later when I saw her photo I was taken back. Think she may have served at the federal level.

Norah said...

That's funny because wasn't Dixy Lee actually in Nixon's cabinet?

Mike Barer said...

Dixie was head of the Atomic Energy Commission in the Nixon administration. I would call her a Dino Democrat in name only.