Nearly three years into a life-upending pandemic and facing an uncertain economy, we’re all running a little ragged these days. But let’s count our blessings.

As is our custom, The Seattle Times editorial board is celebrating those in our region who have helped to make our lives better (portrayed by editorial cartoonist David Horsey in the boat-parade inspired illustration).

In the “Streets” boat: Let’s start with folks helping the most vulnerable. With their plain-spoken and audacious style, Marc Dones, the first CEO of the King County Regional Housing Authority, is marshaling resources to find solutions and intent on cutting through what they deem the region’s learned helplessness around homelessness.

Naomi Morris, with other front-line psychiatric nurses at the Downtown Emergency Service Center, ministers to one of Seattleā€™s most challenging populations: People who are mentally ill and often severely addicted.

Community”: Leonard Forsman is chair of the Suquamish Tribe and president of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians. He is now a member of the University of Washington Board of Regents, his alma mater.

Under the leadership of President Dawn Rains, Treehouse recently celebrated a breakthrough milestone. The nonprofit that serves foster children helped raise the rate of foster kids graduating high school by 14 percentage points, from 36.5% in 2013, to 50.3% in 2020.


State”: Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz has effectively managed the Department of Natural Resources and persuaded lawmakers to appropriate more resources. As smoky skies bedevil Washington summers, the agency’s efforts to boost wildfire response, accelerate forest restoration and build community resilience bode well for the state.

Outgoing state Sens. Reuven Carlyle and David Frockt are lawmakers who put service to community above service to partisan ideology and special interests. Carlyle was the architect of the 2021 Climate Commitment Act, which established a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions. Frockt’s pragmatic leadership was invaluable whether his party was in the majority or the minority and was known for working across the aisle, including in his role as the Senate’s chief capital budget writer.

City of Seattle”: Seattle City Councilmember Alex Pedersen not only has demonstrated a commitment to constituents over special interests but has pushed for enhanced public safety and prudent transportation investments.

Elected in 2021 on platforms of compassion and public safety, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and City Attorney Ann Davison have made their marks in their respective offices. Davison’s office has ensured swifter prosecutor decisions and reduced case backlogs. Harrell has pushed back on council efforts to cut police recruiting.

Congress”: After winning reelection, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray was nominated to be president pro tempore, putting her third in line for the presidency.

After a nail-biting election, Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez was able to fend off Trump acolyte Joe Kent’s bid for the 3rd Congressional District House seat. Gluesenkamp Perez’s working-class background and grassroots campaign shocked pollsters.

Sports”: Two pleasant surprises captured the imagination of die-hard and casual sports fans. First, the busy bat and irrepressible enthusiasm of American League Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez energized the Mariners season. Then, Geno Smith emerged from a somewhat lackluster NFL career to land as Seahawks quarterback, surprising us with performances that make you almost forget that other guy.