Seattle mayoral race: Durkan vows to be Seattle’s agent of renewal

May 12, 2017, 8:15 PM | Updated: May 13, 2017, 7:12 am

Vowing to focus on police accountability, homelessness and affordable housing, former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan announced her candidacy Friday for mayor of Seattle.

Seattle, Durkan said, once spawned industries that remapped business and the globe — and it needs to again in the future.

“We are the city that gave you coffee on every street corner, the everything store right on your phone, bone marrow transplants that save lives and cure cancer,” she said at a mid morning news conference. “Computers and airplanes that have unlocked the globe.”

But, she added, the city cannot sustain its success on the backs of people who can’t afford to both live and work in the city. “Too many people cannot afford to live here,”  she said.

Durkan’s announcement, just days after current Mayor Ed Murray said he would not seek a second term, adds to the already crowded field of 14 declared candidates which includes: former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, state Sen. Bob Hasegawa, state Rep. Jessyn Farrell, attorney and community activist Nikkita Oliver and urban planner Cary Moon among others.

And still more people could join the race before the May 19 filing deadline.

While Durkan praised some accomplishments of Mayor Ed Murray — the city’s higher minimum wage, for example — she also took mild digs at his reputation for focusing on larger social issues to the detriment of the less-glamorous, the day-to-day work of running of a city and for his perceived indifference to small business.

“The big challenges are not going to divert me from the so-called little things,” she said. “As your mayor I will be relentlessly focused on basic city services. You will get what you pay for, from filling potholes to moving snow to taking care of our parks.”

And small business won’t get lost in the mix, she vowed. “We’re going to take particular care of those small businesses that form the backbone of neighborhoods and provide so much of the texture of that social fabric.”

In the 19-minute speech, Durkan emphasized her Seattle roots. She noted that as a child she watched the building of the Space Needle. Even the site of her announcement — the art deco-styled former Beacon Hill hospital that was Amazon’s original Seattle headquarters — had a personal connection with Durkan.

When it was a hospital, her father spent a year there rehabilitating from severe injuries he suffered at the end of World War II.

“Seattle literally rebuilt him,” she said. “This building is a symbol of renewal. It’s time to bring that same spirit of renewal to every corner of Seattle.”

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Seattle mayoral race: Durkan vows to be Seattle’s agent of renewal