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February 18, 2015 at 9:15 AM

Sally Clark won’t run for Seattle City Council re-election

Update: Read the full story here.

Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark has decided to not seek re-election this year.

On the council since 2006 and its former president, Clark has been registered to run for one of two remaining citywide seats as seven of the council’s positions move to election by geographic district in 2015.

But now she’s dropping out.

“After almost 10 years of service to the people of the greatest city in the country, and with tremendous and valued colleagues, it’s time for me to start a new chapter,” Clark said in a statement Wednesday. “I will not run for re-election to Seattle City Council this fall.”

Clark is the third sitting council member in under a month to opt out. Nick Licata announced his decision on Jan. 21 and Tom Rasmussen joined him on Jan. 23.

All nine of the council’s seats are up for re-election.

The council’s other six members — Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell, Sally Bagshaw, Jean Godden, Mike O’Brien and Kshama Sawant — each have active campaigns.

But Clark’s news means there are now three races without a current council member in the mix:

  • The 1st Council District, which includes West Seattle, Delridge and South Park, has eight registered candidates
  • The 5th Council District, which covers North Seattle, has six.
  • The citywide seat that Clark had been pursuing has four remaining candidates.

Jonathan Grant, executive director of the Tenants Union of Washington State, announced last week that he’ll seek one of the two citywide seats. But he didn’t immediately decide whether to test Clark or Burgess.

“The easy thing for me to do now would be to run for (Clark’s) position,” Grant said Wednesday. “But my goal is to help establish a strong progressive majority on the council. If other folks enter that race, as long as they share my values and support rent stabilization, I won’t challenge them. I’ll focus on Tim Burgess.”

Less than two hours after Clark said she wouldn’t run again, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s legal counsel, M. Lorena González, announced her candidacy for the position.

And O’Brien, currently campaigning to represent the 6th District, which includes the Fremont neighborhood where he lives, said Wednesday he would begin talking with his supporters and his family about seeking a citywide seat.

Money wouldn’t have been an issue for Clark, whose campaign will shut down with more than $31,000 in cash on hand and having raised more than $47,000.

Read the council’s news release on Clark’s decision below.

SEATTLE – Councilmember Sally J. Clark released the following statement regarding serving another term on the Seattle City Council:

“After almost 10 years of service to the people of the greatest city in the country, and with tremendous and valued colleagues, it’s time for me to start a new chapter. I will not run for re-election to Seattle City Council this fall.

“I’ve been honored to work with amazing, creative, passionate advocates across many disciplines and many neighborhoods in Seattle since being appointed to City Council in 2006. I am proud of the work we have done together to make Seattle more safe, affordable and sustainable. We’ve done that by widening and deepening opportunities for prosperity, broadening involvement in decision-making and making city government work smarter.

“Upon arrival I started advocating for a comprehensive, citizen-driven approach to refreshing Seattle’s neighborhood plans. In collaboration with then-Mayor Greg Nickels and then-Councilmember Richard Conlin we renewed our commitment resulting in plan updates in more than half a dozen neighborhoods.

“I am immensely proud of the work I did to launch Bank On Seattle-King County so that low-income, ‘unbanked’ people can leave behind high interest pay-day lenders and check-cashing shops. We reached the next step by combining efforts with the Allen Family Foundation, Neighborhood House and others to establish neighborhood-based Financial Empowerment Centers, bringing practical saving and debt-reduction help to Seattle communities most in need.

“Mayor Ed Murray’s strong support for and recent signature on Priority Hire requirements for City capital projects was a capstone on two years of research and negotiation. I spearheaded this effort in tandem with Councilmember Mike O’Brien. In combination with Council’s passage of paid sick and safe leave standards, higher minimum wage and the start of universal pre-school, I feel lucky to be part of a Council responding to the corrosive disparities that plague so many U.S. cities.

“While I am proud of having lead the Council’s adoption of incentive zoning to prompt greater production of affordable housing by the for-market development community, the work of making our city affordable for people of low and modest means remains far from finished, as the recent One Night Count of King County unsheltered homeless people painfully demonstrated. I’m thankful for Mayor Murray’s dedication to the affordable city and grateful for the work of the 28 volunteers who accepted our invitation to serve on the Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee.

“As a legislator you accomplish little by yourself. I thank the many neighborhood advocates, small business people and social service advocates who make our city beautiful, safe, fun and compassionate. Through this service I’ve met creative people who care deeply about this place we live. I’ve tried to help by figuring out how to build a policy, how to use my bully pulpit and how to work something into the budget.

“I’ve been joined in this work by exceptional City staff who love Seattle and what they get to do. That includes a cast of councilmembers since 2006 whom I’ve seen give so much— personally and professionally— to improve the condition of who we are now and who we will grow to be.  This includes the supremely talented and committed staff who have worked in my office helping me and, more important, helping the thousands of people who have called, written or emailed for assistance over the years.

“I’ve been joined and helped in this stage of my life by my spouse, Liz Ford, as well as by many friends who still invite me out from time to time despite how many times I’ve said I can’t make it due to a meeting. I look forward to having the time to be a better spouse and friend.”


Sally J. Clark was appointed to the Seattle City Council in 2006.   In 1997 she left Chicken Soup Brigade to join the office staff of then-Seattle City Councilmember Tina Podlodowski, and joined the City’s Department of Neighborhoods as Neighborhood Development Manager for Southeast Seattle in 1999.   Clark has also served as executive director of the Northwest Association for Housing Affordability, worked as a legislative aide at the King County Council and as director of community resources at Lifelong AIDS Alliance.  She lives with her partner in the Brighton neighborhood.

Comments | More in Local government, Seattle City Council | Topics: 2015 Seattle City Council elections, Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata, Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark


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