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Saturday, November 18, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sims makes the most of his trip to nation's capital to get award

Medill News Service

WASHINGTON — King County Executive Ron Sims came to the nation's capital this week to pick up a magazine award but also managed to squeeze in a dozen meetings with congressional and federal officials, and even World Bank executives.

The whirlwind tour — capped Wednesday night with Sims receiving one of nine Public Officials of the Year awards from Governing magazine — helped to boost his image as a pioneer among urban leaders in environmental protection.

Sims, 58, met with the staff members of several Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Rep. Henry Waxman and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, both of California, to discuss innovations in ways to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Democrats, who won control of both houses last week, have placed environmental issues near the top of their agenda and are reaching out to city and state leaders for guidance on legislation they are drafting for the coming session.

Governing magazine praised Sims for being in the forefront of efforts to combat global warming. Under his leadership, King County became the first jurisdiction to sign on to the country's only voluntary greenhouse-emission trading system, called the Chicago Climate Exchange.

The magazine also pointed to Sims' "aggressive program" to preserve open spaces in an urban landscape.

During his visit, Sims met with officers at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and also visited the World Bank.

"I am not afraid of ideas," Sims said. "If I do my job right, King County will be on many people's radar screens."

Other recipients of this year's prize include Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Nashville, Tenn., Mayor Bill Purcell.

Sims, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2004, is not the only Puget Sound politician in Washington's spotlight this week. On Thursday, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was scheduled to receive a conservation achievement award from the National Wildlife Federation.

The wildlife federation praised Nickels for spearheading efforts among city governments to reduce carbon emission in line with the terms of the Kyoto Protocol.

The organization also honored Grist Magazine, the Seattle online environmental news site founded by Chip Giller.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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