Lindsay Peyton
Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan announced her candidacy for mayor of the City of Seattle during a press conference in Beacon Hill on Friday, May 12. The election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Jenny Durkan for Mayor – Former U.S. Attorney ready to make a run for it

By Lindsay Peyton

Jenny Durkan is confident that she has what it takes to run the City of Seattle.

“I will listen, I will learn and I will lead,” she said. “Please let me be your mayor.”

The former U.S. Attorney, who served in the Obama administration, announced her candidacy at a press conference in Beacon Hill on Friday, May 12. The election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

She is running against 12 candidates so far – Casey Carlisle, Michael Harris, Bob Hasegawa, David Ishii, Harley Lever, Mary Juanita Martin, Michael McGinn, Cary Moon, Nikkita Oliver, Jason Roberts, Alex Tsimerma, Jessyn Farrell and Keith Whiteman. Mayor Ed Murray announced that he would not seek re-election on Tuesday, May 9.

A couple of prominent West Seattle figures were present among the many faces of supporters endorsing Durkan, including King County Council Chair Joe McDermott.

“I’ve known Jenny for over a decade, and I’ve worked with her on a lot of causes -- from LBQT issues to police reform here in the city,” McDermott said. “I know her to be a passionate and progressive leader, and I’m excited about her candidacy.”

Former city council representative Tom Rasmussen, a resident of the Alki neighborhood, was also at the event to show his support.

“I think she’s extremely well qualified and knows Seattle issues,” Rasmussen said. “I’m confident that she can and will lead police reform as she did as U.S. Attorney. West Seattle is an incredibly diverse neighborhood. She brings strong values and has a moral commitment to helping low income residents, seniors and children.”

Durkan named police reform and increased accountability among the top priorities she would address as mayor, along with finding solutions for homelessness and increasing affordable housing options.

“Seattle is my home, and it has helped make me who I am,” Durkan said. “I love this city and its quirky, irreverent and engaged people.”

She talked about watching the construction of the Space Needle as a child.

“The theme of that World’s Fair was the future,” she said. “And Seattle has embraced the challenge.”

While Durkan commended the city for its progressive approach to marriage equality and seeking gun reform, as well as its industry, technology and business growth, she said Seattle needs to do more to promote equality.

“We are the city that is inventing the future,” she said. “Today Seattle has shiny new towers and an innovate economy. We’re also a city caught in shifting times. In too many ways, for too many people, our incredible successes are also creating two Seattles. Two many people are being locked out. They cannot compete with rising prices.”

Durkan said the cost of a first home, rental rates and property taxes have become too much for most people in the city – and that too many residents are now living in tents and cars on the streets.

“I am running for Mayor because I believe we can bring light and love to those shadows,” she said. I believe we can reweave our frayed social fabric. I believe we can solve the problems we face, if we tackle them together.”  

Durkan has already been a light for many causes. She was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 as the U.S. Attorney for Western Washington and became the first openly gay U.S. Attorney in the country’s history. 

In that post, she led efforts to reform the Seattle Police Department and created a civil rights unit to prosecute hate crimes, housing discrimination and issues facing returning veterans. 

In addition, Durkan helped Washington cut down opioid abuse and violent crime, increasing gun prosecutions by 45 percent. She also chaired efforts to address cyber-crime and consumer privacy.  

As Mayor, Durkan said in addition to facing her top concerns, she would also make city services a top priority. “The basics matter first,” she said.

She recognized that in the current political climate, there are a number of challenges for a progressive candidate.

“I want everyone to know that Donald Trump’s vision for America is not my vision for America, and more importantly, it’s not the City of Seattle’s vision for America,” she said. “Neither Donald Trump, nor his immigration authorities nor Jeff Sessions is going to tell us how to run our city . . . I can promise you, they do not want to pick a fight with me.”

Durkan was part of a team that fought President Trump’s Executive Order on immigration, resulting in the judicial order preventing people from being deported from SeaTac airport. 

She also served as a criminal defense and plaintiffs’ attorney, winning the 2005 recount lawsuit brought by Republicans to unseat Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire. 

Durkan pledged to protect the environment, science and healthcare, as well as promote a vibrant economy and small businesses.

“It’s ambitious,” she said. “Can we do all of this? Yes, we can, and we must. We need leadership to get beyond the noise, bring people together and find real solutions. As your mayor, that’s what I’d like to do.”

Durkan was born and raised in Washington State. Her parents are former State Senator Martin and Lorraine Durkan. She and her partner Dana Garvey have two teenage sons. 

Durkan served on the Washington State Bar Association Board of Governors, the Merit Selection Committee for the U.S. District Court, the board of the Center for Women and Democracy, the board of the Seattle Police Foundation and as chair of the Washington State Attorney General's Task Force on Consumer Privacy.

For more information, visit jennyforseattle.com. Follow Durkan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JennyDurkan and Twitter at twitter.com/JennyDurkan.

For more information about the election, visit www.seattle.gov.

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