Attorney General candidate Bob Ferguson said what many voters desire in the state's top lawyer is someone who will be independent and run the office in an efficient and nonpartisan way.
And he thinks he has the track record to do just that.
Ferguson, a Democrat serving on the King County Council, said he has demonstrated he's willing to go against his party and his own self-interests in the name of efficiency.
When first elected to the county council in 2003, Ferguson ran against another Democrat who was a 20-year incumbent and had the backing of the party.
He ran on a platform of reducing the number of council members from 13 to nine to save money and won, but knew his district likely would be one of the four to be eliminated in the reduction.
"People talk about reducing the size of government -- I actually did it, and it came with great political cost," Ferguson told the Herald during a recent Tri-City campaign visit. "It was the right thing to do. It made us a leaner, more efficient government."
None of the Democrats on the council at the time supported the reduction, but it ultimately saved King County $10 million, he added.
When his seat on the council was eliminated, Ferguson had to run again for one of the remaining seats and again beat an incumbent fellow Democrat.
Ferguson is a longtime Washington resident who earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Washington and law degree at New York University.
After law school, he was a clerk for federal judges in Spokane and in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals covering several Midwestern states before settling in Seattle and working for law firm Preston Gates & Ellis.
He said clerking for federal judges -- which involves researching and writing memorandums that provide the underpinnings for the judge's opinion -- is valuable experience for a potential attorney general, who may argue cases in front of appellate judges on behalf of the state, and sometimes is called upon to offer non-binding opinions on matters of state law.
If elected, his priorities include focusing on the Attorney General's Office's consumer protection and public safety missions, including tackling the problem of gang violence in Washington.
Ferguson would like to see a statewide gang prosecution unit with specialized expertise and resources to fight gang-related crime.
He also would like to see stronger laws related to illegal gun possession, including tougher penalties for juveniles repeatedly caught with illegal weapons.
Ferguson also has studied up on issues related to Hanford, the Tri-Party Agreement and the lawsuit involving future transport of Hanford waste to Yucca Mountain.
He supports strong enforcement of the Tri-Party Agreement and said he'd put as much effort as possible into keeping Yucca Mountain as a waste repository.
He also supports keeping the office's Open Government Ombudsman, an expert who helps government officials, citizens and reporters with questions about the state's public records and open meetings laws.
"When it comes to transparency and open government, I have a strong record," Ferguson said. "I view that as important in the office of the Attorney General as well."
Ferguson said he's earned endorsements locally from the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council and Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller.
Other candidates who have filed in the race are Republicans Reagan Dunn, also a King County Councilman, and Stephen Pidgeon, a lawyer from Everett.
The top two candidates in the Aug. 7 primary move on to the November general election regardless of party affiliation.