Councilmember Alex Pedersen (D-4 Northeast Seattle) issued the following statement regarding his decision about re-election:
“Striving to serve the public as a voice of reason during tumultuous times has been an honor, but I am not a career politician. While I appreciate the encouragement from several neighborhood leaders from Wallingford to Wedgwood, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2023 to another four-year term as the fulltime City Councilmember for District 4. After 2023, my family will need me more than City Hall, and they are looking forward to having me back.
“Being free from campaigning for re-election during 2023 will enable my office to focus on serving our district’s 100,000 constituents in more than 15 neighborhoods and to help craft sensible public policy.
“While I have heard that recent polling numbers reflect support for my efforts, just because an elected official could win again doesn’t mean they should. I’d be happy to hand the reins to another qualified and pragmatic public servant selected by voters this November who will continue to prioritize constituents over interest groups, watchdog the City’s $7 billion budget to deliver local government services, and produce substance instead of slogans on Twitter.”
Mayor Bruce Harrell added: “Across his history of service from Legislative Aide to Councilmember, Alex Pedersen has championed issues critical to Seattle neighbors – from effective public safety to essential infrastructure projects. I am grateful for his sensible leadership and service to our community.”
“While we have another year to achieve more,” Councilmember Pedersen continued, “I’m proud of the progress my office has made on several initiatives since the day Ron Sims swore me into office:
- Voted to create the Regional Homelessness Authority during a close vote in December 2019.
- Supported Mayor’s Plan to reduce homelessness and encouraged Seattle’s Office of Housing to prioritize vacant units for people experiencing homelessness.
- Found the location, secured the funding, passed the legislation, and negotiated the details to ensure early completion of Rosie’s Tiny Home Village with supportive services in the University District. (Also working to maximize future, permanent low-income housing for formerly homeless on the Rosie’s site.)
- Voted against efforts to defund the police department, opposed deletion of police positions from City budget books, and supported flexible use of salary savings for overtime to help with severe staffing shortage.
- Supported recruitment and retention plans for police officers and detectives to address disturbing increase in 911 response times and crime rates.
- Brought increased public safety responses to District 4 with additional patrols in U District and Crime Prevention Coordinators throughout Seattle.
- Led renewal of Seattle’s Transportation Benefit District, which was approved by 80% of voters.
- Re-balanced Seattle’s transportation investments to finally care for our aging bridges, following the audit we ordered to assess this vital infrastructure. We also ensured the West Seattle Bridge was restored under budget.
- Originated the effort to double the number of school zone speed enforcement cameras to keep more kids safe.
- Shepherded the Resolution to guide Sound Transit decisions for new stations from West Seattle to Ballard and urged protection of the Chinatown-International District.
- Ensured funding for sidewalks, crosswalks, and traffic calming throughout our District and encouraged more funding for South Seattle where the highest percentage of pedestrians are killed in traffic collisions.
- Led the appointment approval process for the new Directors of both the Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), two large agencies comprising more than $2 billion.
- Led effort to update City Council’s legislative procedure to enable a focus on City government instead of national or international politics.
- Prioritized cybersecurity for city government to protect both information and operational technology.
- Reformed and renewed the Business Improvement Area in the University District to improve the neighborhood’s cleanliness and economic development, while preserving the historic “Ave.”
- Provide responsive constituent services to the people, nonprofits, and small businesses in District 4.
- Crafted and funded the Internet for All Resolution to advance digital equity that increases access to jobs, education, and health care.
- Ensuring completion of community center renovations at Magnuson Park where 850 low-income residents call home.
- Joined with other leaders to save the National Archives at Seattle, located in District 4, an important resource for indigenous peoples and local researchers throughout the Northwest.
- Kept utility rate increases to a minimum because utility bills are regressive and reduced utility payments during the COVID pandemic.
INDEPENDENCE ON KEY VOTES:
- Voted against various efforts to “de-fund” our police, including the ill-advised pledge to defund by 50%.
- Voted against the doubling of the property tax portion for the Parks District.
- Voted against imposing a new payroll tax on Seattle’s employers during an economic recession.
ENVIRONMENT / CLIMATE CHANGE:
- Crafted and passed new “Climate Note” to require climate change and resiliency to be considered with all new legislation.
- Originated idea to create cooling centers at the Northeast Seattle Library and Magnuson Park to strengthen our district’s resiliency to climate change.
- Crafted and led effort to phase out harmful gas-powered leaf blowers to support public health, workers, and our environment.
- Crafted bill to register tree-removal companies for transparency and accountability to end the “wild west” of tree cutting in Seattle, and conceived Seattle’s “Urban Forester” position to lead efforts to conserve and expand Seattle’s urban forest.
“And one more year to go!
“In the year ahead, my office plans to focus on safety, including community safety and transportation safety, as well as preventing economic, physical, and cultural displacement and ensuring fiscal responsibility so the people’s tax dollars are invested as effectively as possible.
“I’m grateful there will be many ways to contribute to the community without serving fulltime as a City Councilmember for back-to-back terms, and I’m fortunate to have skills and experience required to return to the private sector in 2024 after continuing the hard work for constituents during 2023.
“Over the next year, I’ll look forward to continuing to work with the Harrell Administration, our City Council President, and others eager to more effectively address the public’s priorities, which must include reducing crime and homelessness.”
- Summary of Councilmember Pedersen’s track record: https://pedersen.seattle.gov/track-record-councilmember-alex-pedersen/
- Councilmember Pedersen’s website: https://www.seattle.gov/council/pedersen
- Councilmember Pedersen’s blog: https://pedersen.seattle.gov/
- Councilmember Pedersen’s Op Eds in the Seattle Times: https://www.seattletimes.com/author/alex-pedersen/
- Seattle Times December 2022 editorial “Puget Sounders Who Brighten Our Community”: https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/puget-sounders-who-brighten-our-community/