Sara Nelson named Seattle City Council president; 5 new members sworn in

Jan 3, 2024, 6:00 AM | Updated: 6:51 am

Image: Seattle City Council President Sara Nelson...

Seattle City Council President Sara Nelson (Photo courtesy of the City of Seattle)

(Photo courtesy of the City of Seattle)

The Seattle City Council welcomed five new members at its official swearing-in ceremony Tuesday, with council member Sara Nelson voted as the new council president.

Nelson takes the role after a unanimous 9-0 vote from the council. The office was previously held by Debora Juarez who did not run for re-election. Nelson previously was a council member, not tied to a specific district.

More on Seattle City Council: Gee & Ursula believe the council’s big shift will better the city

This is one of the biggest turnovers of the Seattle City Council in decades.

Nelson started working for the city council as a legislative aide more than 20 years ago, helping pass legislation that increased affordable housing, transit service and environmental protections. She served through 2013, but left Seattle City Hall to launch her family business, Fremont Brewing. When she rejoined the city council, she became the first small business owner on the council since 2009.

Rob Saka (District 1), Joy Hollingsworth (District 3), Maritza Rivera (District 4), Cathy Moore (District 5) and Bob Kettle (District 7) are all first-term representatives, paired with incumbents Tammy Morales and Dan Strauss. Of the city council changes, four members decided not to seek re-election. Bob Kettle defeated Andrew Lewis for the District 7 seat, making him the only Seattle council incumbent to lose this year.

A replacement for at-large council member Teresa Mosqueda, who was elected to the King County Council, is still needed. Mosqueda beat Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon 55.0% to 44.7% for the seat.

Sara Nelson on Seattle’s Morning News: ‘We need to reconsider what we’re spending money on’

Turnout in this year’s general election was a relatively low 46.3%. For comparison, the 2021 general election for mayor, city attorney and at-large council members had a 54.6% turnout. In 2019, the city council election had 54.5% turnout citywide.

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Sara Nelson named Seattle City Council president; 5 new members sworn in