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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

October 17, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Democratic activist who pushed for Seattle Park District will run for City Council

Michael Maddux spent the better part of a year mulling whether to pursue a seat on Seattle’s City Council.

The agonizing started last November, when voters approved a ballot measure moving the council to representation based on geographic districts for its 2015 election, says Maddux, who made up his mind this week.

He’ll give it a shot.

“There was a lot of hemming and hawing about whether to dive into a race. There were family considerations, and I’m a middle-class guy working at a law firm. I can’t just go risk losing my job to run for City Council,” the Democratic Party activist and parks advocate said Friday.

“But I looked at this particular seat. I looked at the race, and the people running. I thought, ‘I have a lot to offer.'”

Maddux, 33, a paralegal who lives with his daughter in Eastlake, is the second candidate to declare for the 4th District, after current Councilmember Jean Godden.

From Eastlake, the 4th District heads northeast of the Lake Washington Ship Canal to encompass Wallingford, Ravenna and the University District, along with wealthier Laurelhurst, View Ridge and Sand Point, where Godden lives.

“You have denser neighborhoods, like Eastlake and the University District, and single-family communities that are growing denser, like Wallingford, and then traditional single-family neighborhoods, like View Ridge,” Maddux said.

He says the 4th District needs “density where it belongs … without destroying the character of neighborhoods.”

Maddux sits on the executive board of the 43rd District Democrats and served on the volunteer advisory committee that recommended the city set up a new taxing authority for parks.

Godden, 83, supported the Seattle Park District ballot measure approved by voters in September, and Maddux says he has “great respect for” the former newspaper columnist, who was re-elected in 2011 to a third term.

Like Maddux, Godden thought hard about whether to run, she says.

“I didn’t think I would do it. The last time I ran I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s it.’ I destroyed all my old yard signs,” she said.

“But then I thought, ‘How will I manage to do all those things I wanted to do when I first ran?’ There are still quite a lot of things to do and I’m not a quitter.”

Maddux says the 4th District needs a council member willing to take the lead at City Hall on projects like bus lanes between the University District and Ballard, and he says his stance on homeless encampments distinguishes him from Godden, who voted last year against making more property legal for the tent cities.

“People say we need to do better than tents, but the reality is that we don’t have housing available right now,” he said.

Maddux grew up in Snohomish County. He negotiated on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers union while working at Group Health Cooperative.

There likely will be additional candidates for the 4th District seat, and Godden will have to answer to a narrower constituency than in years past.

“I don’t know what it’s going to be like, but we’ll find out,” she said. “I’ve been in Northeast Seattle since I came to the city as a teenager. I’ve been here forever and I know the area quite well.”

Comments | More in Local government, Politics Northwest, Seattle City Council, Washington state Democratic Party | Topics: 2015 Seattle City Council elections, 43rd District Democrats, Eastlake

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