SEATTLE (AP) — President Barack Obama announced Monday that he will nominate King County Executive Ron Sims to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In other news, the Seattle P.I. reported that Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske might be named as the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
In a news release, the White House says that Sims would be in charge of HUD's day-to-day operations, a nearly $39 billion annual operating budget and 8,500 employees.
Sims has been the top elected official in the state's most populous county since 1996. His nomination to the HUD post requires approval by the U.S. Senate.
"Ron's track record as an innovative leader with an exciting vision for the future of our nation's communities make him the perfect deputy secretary candidate as we tackle the nation's housing crisis amidst the biggest economic downturn in decades," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement. "His experience at the helm of a large urban government provides a critical perspective and his collaborative approach to problem-solving has prepared him to effectively lead HUD's operations as the agency charts a new aggressive course."
Sims was first elected to the King County Council in 1985 and appointed executive after Gary Locke was elected governor. Sims won election the next year and was re-elected in 2001 and 2005.
He is a Central Washington University graduate who worked on consumer protection issues at the state attorney general's office and the Federal Trade Commission. He ran Seattle's juvenile offender program and worked as a legislative aide in the state Senate before he was elected to the King County Council.
King County, which includes Seattle, is the 13th largest county in the nation with a population of 1.8 million. The county accounts for more than 40 percent of the state's jobs. The county government has a work force of over 13,000 and an annual budget of $4.4 billion.