MYNORTHWEST NEWS

KC Councilmember Kohl-Welles won’t seek re-election in ‘next chapter’

Jan 26, 2023, 6:41 AM | Updated: 9:05 am

Kohl-Welles...

After 30 years in office, King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles says it's time to retire. (Photo from King County Council)

(Photo from King County Council)

After 30 years in office, King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles says it’s time to retire.

She sent a statement announcing her decision to her constituency Wednesday, saying the decision was not an easy one to make.

KC Councilmember Joe McDermott won’t seek re-election

“This decision did not come to me lightly,” she wrote. “I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the public, those residing in my district but also more broadly throughout King County and the state. It has been particularly important to me to work collaboratively in strengthening protections for the most vulnerable and marginalized in our communities, especially as income inequality, displacement, and homelessness have increased, as climate change has become increasingly threatening to us all, and as gun violence has become more frequent.”

Kohl-Welles served the 36th Legislative District as a state Senator and Representative for 23 years before running for the King County Council’s District 4.

She moved to Seattle in 1985 with her husband, Alex Welles, first working as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Washington.

But she quickly decided she wanted to work more directly in affecting social change.

Her first foray into politics was in her work with the Queen Anne Community Council. After playing a key role with the council on issues such as hate crimes and homelessness, she was requested to run for the state House of Representatives.

She eventually got to the House in 1992, when Larry Phillips appointed her to replace him in Olympia because he had just been elected to the County Council. After she was later elected to fill his seat that fall, she served two more years before running for the state Senate.

Kohl-Welles was named by The Washington Post as the “Most Effective Democratic Senator in the Washington State Senate” in 2014, as well as the “Legislator of the Year” by the Humane Society of the United States” in 2010.

But now, at age 80, Kohl-Welles says it’s time to move on.

“While I look forward to the next chapter of my life, I also look back fondly on all I have done and all those with whom I have worked alongside. I feel blessed by my career, fortunate to be part of such a wonderful community, and a participant in crafting needed public policy and social change.”

Kohl-Welles’ term on the Council is up at the end of the year. She joins Councilmember Joe McDermott in deciding not to seek re-election.

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KC Councilmember Kohl-Welles won’t seek re-election in ‘next chapter’