City Councilmember Bruce Harrell won't run for reelection this year, according to a Tuesday morning press release.
“Today I am announcing my intent not to seek re-election to the Seattle City Council for a fourth term because of my belief that three terms is sufficient in this role at this time," Harrell said in the press release.
Harrell's announcement comes one day after Tammy Morales announced that she would run for office in the council president's South Seattle district. Morales nearly unseated Harrell four years ago when she earned over 49 percent of the vote in the last election. She launched this year's race with major endorsements from both U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Seattle state Sen. Rebecca Saldaña.
Seven of the City Council's nine seats are up for grabs in this August's election. Harrell is the third sitting councilmember to announce that they will not seek reelection, following Sally Bagshaw and Rob Johnson's earlier announcements. Mike O'Brien is the only sitting councilmember to officially file for reelection. Lisa Herbold, Kshama Sawant, and Debora Juarez have not publicly announced if they are running. Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena González are not up for reelection this year.
Harrell briefly served as the mayor of Seattle last year after disgraced former Mayor Ed Murray resigned. Harrell's District 2 encompasses much of southeast Seattle, including the Rainier Valley, Beacon Hill, the Industrial District, Georgetown, and Columbia City.
I've copied Harrell's full press release below:
“Today I am announcing my intent not to seek re-election to the Seattle City Council for a fourth term because of my belief that three terms is sufficient in this role at this time.
“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. My goal has always been to serve with integrity and compassion. Even though my mother was interned with other Japanese Americans during WWII and my father came to Seattle from a segregated South, I have been afforded unimaginable opportunities by being blessed with mentors, teachers, coaches and other family members committed to creating opportunities for me—in turn my focus has always been to create better opportunities for others.
“I have tried to level a playing field plagued with institutional unfairness; and lead with creativity and impact. This is why in 2009, I converted the Race and Social Justice Initiative into permanent legislation to ensure evaluation of all City actions from an equity perspective. I succeeded in ‘Banning the Box’ to help those charged with crimes fully re-enter society after having paid their debt. I proposed the idea of Body Cameras in 2010 to level a police officer’s version of events against video evidence before others thought it popular. I proposed the idea of converting our City’s streetlights to LED lights and supported a new process for changing broken street lights because I observed that poorer areas in Seattle had more failed street lights. I succeeded in creating a sustainable $100 million-dollar savings account for City Light to protect us from fluctuating rate increases after hearing stories from people who could not afford to pay for their electricity.
“When my daughter was in middle school, I saw firsthand the difference between the opportunity of kids who had computer access versus those who did not. I had the idea that major internet companies should provide high-speed internet access to students who qualify for free and reduced lunch; this could bring a world of computer literacy to students who are otherwise deprived. This simple idea resulted in national rollouts in Seattle and now hundreds of thousands of students in our country have benefited. Additionally, I led the effort to add funding in our budget to expand the 13th Year Promise Scholarship Program—guaranteeing every high school graduate an opportunity and access to one year of free college. In all these efforts, my guiding principle was ensuring fairness with a focus on providing better opportunities for people to succeed and thrive.
“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.
“For the rest of 2019, I remain concerned about the misalignment of local governmental strategies and the social responsibility efforts advanced by corporate entities. Whether the issue is homelessness, transportation, public safety or education, we have yet to develop a coordinated strategy or a forum by which one can be created. This will be my focus.
“While my work as a councilmember will end in 2019, I will remain an engaged community leader and look forward to continuing my work to create a more vibrant, healthy and just society.”