By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
For the first time since 2017, Sen. Patty Murray made an in-person visit in Chinatown last Saturday. More than 30 community members welcomed her.
Lawson Wong, 23, a Chinatown-International District (CID) resident who met Murray for the first time, said, “We—the young, elderly, Black, white, Asian residents of the Chinatown-International District—are honored to have 30-year incumbent Sen. Patty Murray visit our beloved community.” He and his wife are recent graduates who have decided to make the CID their home.
“I do think it was a good thing that she took time out of her busy schedule to come our way,” said CID resident Debbie Uno.
“We are honored that Sen. Patty Murray came to Chinatown,” said Tony Au, who was among several Asian community members who accompanied Murray’s visit from Hing Hay Park to Tai Tung Restaurant and Eastern Cafe. “She’s warm and considerate. She’s been one of the most influential senators and Washington state’s best senator for the past 30 years.”
Elected in 1992, Murray is the third most powerful senator among the Senate Democrats. If re-elected on Nov. 8, she would start her 6th term for the Senate.
“I didn’t expect Sen. Murray to know about my brother’s death and give her regards to our family [but she did],” said Harry Chan, owner of the Tai Tung Restaurant. The day before Murray’s visit was Tommy Quan’s funeral, Chan’s brother. Still in grief, Chan said he appreciated Murray’s visit and her kind words to him.
“Seattle’s International District is such an important and historic part of our city,” said Murray. “I’m so glad I could meet with local small business owners and community members as I travel all across Washington to remind everyone to vote in this election. When the pandemic hit, I worked hard to secure funding to help our small businesses keep their doors open and their workers on payroll—not just because it was necessary for our economy, but because our local small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities.”
Hyeok Kim, former Seattle deputy mayor, and Rep. Sharon T. Santos were organizers of Murray’s CID tour. “Her (Murray’s) campaign wanted to have the senator stop by the CID to encourage people to vote and a chance for her to say hello to her supporters in the neighborhood,” said Kim.
“Sen. Patty Murray has been a longtime friend of the Chinatown-International District neighborhood, supporting our small businesses and our community-based nonprofits,” said Santos. “This was a good chance for her to see our continued community resilience in the face of COVID, anti-Asian hate and violence, and existential threats posed by outside developments.”
Murray’s campaign staff said although she had not visited the community during the pandemic, she “had a lot of engagement virtually with CID businesses and leaders during and after the worst of the pandemic.”
Au said, “Murray takes care of our state and gets us funding for both businesses and nonprofit organizations.”
“I hope she wins the race,” said Uno, a Murray supporter. Many community members were snapping shots with Murray even though a few were Republicans. The CID visit was part of Murray’s campaign in the city. After her CID visit, she went to Seattle Center to join Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was in our state to campaign for Murray.
Assunta Ng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.