Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell won’t seek reelection in 2019

Jan 8, 2019, 11:16 AM | Updated: 12:54 pm
Bruce Harrell won't seek reelection in 2019...
(Matt Pitman, KIRO Radio)
(Matt Pitman, KIRO Radio)

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell announced Tuesday that he won’t seek reelection when his term expires at the end of 2019.

RELATED: Seattle City Council up for massive overhaul in 2019

Harrell was first elected to City Council in 2007, and will have served three total terms when he steps down this year. He also served as acting mayor in September 2017, after then-mayor Ed Murray stepped down amid allegations of sexual abuse.

“I have been honored to serve the people of Seattle and thank the many community partners, city employees, organizations, family and friends who began this journey with me in 2007, and have worked with me to make our city better,” Harrell said in a news release.

Harrell also had some choice words concerning Seattle’s wealth disparity.

Our City struggles profoundly with reconciling the vast wealth that has been created in the same place known for long lines at food banks and numerous homeless encampments. Thriving businesses are discouraged when their work, commitment and ingenuity are met with public antagonism and resentment. Corporate social responsibility investments are lost in the noise of disenchantment.

Speaking to KIRO 7’s Essex Porter, he stated that “three terms is sufficient in this role at this time.”

On Monday, community organizer Tammy Morales announced she would be going after Harrell’s seat. She also ran against Harrell in 2015, losing by fewer than 400 votes.

This comes months after councilmembers Rob Johnson and Sally Bagshaw both said they wouldn’t seek reelection themselves this year. 2019 will see seven out nine seats in Seattle City Council up for grabs, now with three wide open for a new councilmember.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan released a statement of her own shortly after the announcement.

Bruce has been a friend and colleague for over 30 years. For decades, he has worked tirelessly for our communities and for a more inclusive Seattle. Since our days together in law school at the University of Washington, I have known him to be a man of compassion and justice. Like his parents, Bruce cares deeply about and works to improve our communities.

As mayor, I have sought his advice and partnered with him to deliver on our shared priorities, like free ORCA passes for youth, two years of free college for Seattle Public Schools high school students, and new gun safety legislation.

I look forward to continuing to work with Bruce for the remainder of his term to create a more affordable, just, and vibrant city of the future.

We will miss having Bruce at City Hall. But I know his contributions to our communities will continue for years to come.

A tough road for city council

It’s been a tough term for the Seattle’s City Council, overall.

The city’s homeless problem has persisted in the wake of tens of millions of dollars in investments, the controversial head tax saga earlier in 2018 saw confidence in the city council hit a low among voters, and the council almost lost a $12 million funding package after a largely symbolic vote went awry.

In a poll obtained by KIRO Radio and MyNorthwest in December, the city council’s disapproval rating had climbed to nearly half of voters at 48 percent, with 26 percent holding “strongly unfavorable” views.

RELATED: Seattle council scrambles for solution after symbolic vote

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Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell won’t seek reelection in 2019