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King County Executive
Dow Constantine

Executive Constantine releases statement on passing of Gov. Spellman


King County Executive Constantine released the following statement on the passing of Gov. Spellman, who served as King County Executive from 1969 to 1981.


Executive Spellman ushered in the modern era in King County. In his twelve years as our first Executive, John Spellman led the transformation of King County into a strong regional government. He drove the construction of the Kingdome that brought us the Mariners and Seahawks. Gov. Spellman was an effective public servant who throughout his career led with honor and grace.

I invited him to attend my State of the County speech in 2011, 42 years after he delivered the first such address, and began my remarks with a lengthy quote from his speech urging elected officials and employees to reach their full potential so that we can make local government work for the people. His words are as relevant today as they were then. Annually since 2001, King County has celebrated its heritage with the John D. Spellman Awards for historic preservation. Gov. Spellman was an amiable, humble man who always had wise words for me, and great faith in King County’s people and future. He will be missed.

I have ordered flags at King County facilities lowered to half-staff as we remember our founding Executive.

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography