Ron Sims, the top elected official in King County and a Spokane native, was nominated Monday to a high-ranking spot in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
President Barack Obama announced plans to appoint Sims as deputy secretary of HUD, a job that oversees the day-to-day operations of the department with an annual budget of $39 billion and 8,500 employees. The appointment requires Senate approval.
Sims is in his third term as King County executive and served three terms on the County Council before his election to the top executive spot in 1996. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 1994, winning the Democratic primary but losing the general election to Slade Gorton. He ran for governor in 2004, losing in the Democratic primary to Chris Gregoire.
Sims was born and raised in Spokane, where his parents were active in the NAACP. He graduated from Lewis and Clark High School and Central Washington University. The Rev. James Sims, the longtime pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church, died in 1996; Lydia Sims was a longtime city official who retired in 1988 as director of the Affirmative Action program.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairwoman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees HUD funding, praised Sims’ experience in working to increase affordable housing and reduce homelessness.
The state’s other Democrat in the Senate, Maria Cantwell, said she’d also support the appointment, calling Sims “a staunch advocate for … communities struggling to get through these tough economic times.”