Dow Constantine, King County Executive
Serving his third-term as King County Executive, Dow Constantine leads one of the largest regional governments in the United States. 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. Throughout his public service career, Dow has been an outspoken advocate for environmental protection, public transit, and government reform.
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.
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.
A Seattle native and fourth-generation Washingtonian, Dow graduated from West Seattle High School and the University of Washington, where he also earned post-graduate degrees in law and urban planning. He became interested in politics at an early age, and served as a legislative intern to 34th District State Senator Phil Talmadge when he was in college. While helping organize a community effort to preserve open space, Dow first teamed with County Council member Greg Nickels, with whom he later worked as a legislative aide. After graduation, Dow practiced law and worked on a number of community projects in parks and open space, the arts, human services and housing.
Dow has been a consistent supporter of transportation alternatives and, as Sound Transit Board Chair, led the three-county agency in creating the regional light rail expansion plan strongly endorsed by voters in 2016. In addition to Sound Transit, Dow serves on the boards of the Puget Sound Regional Council and Mountains to Sound Greenway. Prior to becoming Executive he was a longtime volunteer for his high school, and previously served on numerous volunteer boards including the West Seattle HelpLine, Allied Arts of Seattle, the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.
Dow is an avid skier and music enthusiast, and can invariably be found on autumn Saturdays with his family at Husky Stadium, where his grandfather first took the field nearly a century ago. Dow and Shirley are raising their young daughter in the same West Seattle neighborhood where he grew up.