Tom Rasmussen has been on council since 2004. Can he feel empathy?
  • City of Seattle
  • Tom Rasmussen has been on the council since 2004. Can he feel empathy?

Saying he wants to avoid "being divided between a campaign and the work I want to accomplish," Seattle City Council member Tom Rasmussen announced this morning that he won't run for reelection.

“This wasn’t an easy decision, but it is the right one," Rasmussen said in a statement. "It is now time to direct my efforts toward the same causes I have always been most passionate about—in exciting new ways."

Rasmussen lives in the council's new District 1, in Southwest Seattle, where he had filed to run.

A former deputy prosecutor in office since 2004, Rasmussen currently chairs the council's transportation committee. There, he's been excited about car sharing and ride sharing, but less stoked on funding the city's bike-safety plan. Rasmussen is also vice chair of the council's housing affordability committee, but during the council's debate over a nonbinding resolution saying they'd look at how to "implement" linkage fees to help fund affordable housing, Rasmussen proposed an amendment further weakening that language to say simply that the council would "develop and consider" a linkage-fee program. Former Stranger city hall reporter Anna Minard has said Rasmussen may not actually be "capable of empathy."

Rasmussen says he plans to spend his last year on the council working on implementing expanded bus service under voter-approved Proposition 1 and getting another measure on the ballot—"Bridging the Gap II"— for new transportation needs, among other issues.