King County Councilmember Julia Patterson will not seek re-election

King County Council Vice-Chair Julia Patterson – who has served the South King County area for 23 years – announced Friday (April 26) she will not seek a fourth term on the King County Council.

Patterson’s district included the cities of SeaTac, Burien, Des Moines, Kent, Normandy Park, Renton and Tukwila, as well as the unincorporated communities in Council District 5.

Raised on a small farm in South King County, Patterson attended Washington State University, where she received her B.S. in Society & Justice, and the University of Washington, where she received her B.A. in English. Today, she lives with her husband, Pat, in SeaTac. Their three grown children all live in the area, and they are the proud grandparents of Hannah, John and Leah.

Here’s more from an official announcement:

Patterson’s public service began in 1989 with her role in the incorporation effort of a new city in suburban south King County. Patterson at that time was a stay-at-home mom turned citizen activist due to the fact that King County was ignoring the needs of her community, including crime on Highway 99 and neighborhood impacts from the airport. When the city of SeaTac was incorporated in 1989, Patterson was elected as a founding member of its first City Council.

That spirit of activism drove Patterson to seek appointment to the State Legislature, where she represented the 33rd District in the State House and the State Senate for close to a decade. While serving in Olympia, Patterson championed legislation that resulted in election reform and lower class sizes in schools. She left the Legislature to join the King County Council in 2001 and was reelected in 2005 and 2009.

“I have enjoyed my work, but I believe the time is right to move on to a new chapter,” said Patterson.

During her twelve-year tenure on the King County Council, Councilmember Patterson served in every major leadership role, including Chair of the Council.

As the legislative branch’s Budget Chair, she shepherded the County forward with balanced budgets during the austerity of the Great Recession. During this time, the Council was forced to balance general fund budgets with a combined shortfall of over $59 million. Patterson passed two budgets that reflected her values by supporting programs for underserved communities and those in need.

Councilmember Patterson’s has taken regional leadership roles in transportation, public health, parks, human services, flooding, and equity and social justice.

Patterson chaired the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Transportation Policy Board for six years, and currently serves as Vice-Chair of Sound Transit’s Board of Directors. She was instrumental in bringing light rail to Sea-Tac Airport and beyond, ensuring that millions of air travelers and south King County residents will have access to high-speed light rail. Patterson’s role in expanding transportation options for commuters outside the urban core was recognized when she was named the 2008 Elected Official of the Year by the Kent Chamber of Commerce.

During her five years as Chair of the Board of Health, she sponsored legislation that resulted in King County becoming one of the first jurisdictions in the country to ban the use of artificial trans-fats in local restaurants. She prime sponsored and successfully passed a Department of Health regulation requiring menu labeling in the chain restaurants of King County. Under Patterson’s direction, the Board of Health took a lead role in developing the “Planning for Healthy Communities Guidelines” to guide land use and transportation planning practices that will result in healthy communities.

For south King County, one of her most notable achievements is the successful decade-long development of the “Lakes to Sound Trail,” a 16.9-mile pedestrian and cycling trail. When complete, the trail will run from Renton through Tukwila, Burien, SeaTac, and eventually connect to the Des Moines Creek Trail. It will connect south King County with the regional trail system, offering new opportunities for residents to commute, recreate, and access major light rail stations and transit hubs.

As Chair of the King County Flood Control District, Patterson showed strong leadership after the United States Army Corps of Engineers announced that the federally-owned and operated Howard Hanson Dam was compromised, increasing the risk of flooding in the Green River Valley. With hundreds of thousands of lives and millions of dollars at risk, Patterson convened regional and state leaders to develop a successful strategy to fund repairs to the dam.

As a fierce supporter of equity and social justice issues, Patterson committed herself to standing up for struggling and working class families, as well as immigrants and refugees facing language and cultural barriers. The principle of equity has been a motivating factor throughout Councilmember Patterson’s career, driving her to ensure that all people, regardless of race, gender, or zip code have the opportunity for health and prosperity. As a result of this effort, she has committed energy and resources to youth violence prevention efforts in south King County.

Throughout her career, nothing has impacted Councilmember Patterson more than her awareness of how people struggle in her community. From her early years on the Council, she has led with her values and heart. She has tirelessly advocated for the homeless, the jobless, the hungry, seniors, and children. She recently was awarded the Community Hero Award from the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network.

Serving south King County has been Patterson’s greatest honor.

“Serving as a city, state, and county representative has been a great life experience and honor,” said Patterson. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. And above all, I’ve enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people in our communities. I give thanks for their willingness to express their hopes and dreams; their beliefs and their fears. Most of all, I give thanks for their goodness and desire to make this a better world.”


5 Responses to “King County Councilmember Julia Patterson will not seek re-election”
  1. Ursa Major says:

    Good riddance to Julia Patterson. I can’t wait to see her memoirs “How to Turn Your Community Into a Slum While Staying in Elected Office”. The policies emanating from Ms. Patterson have taken South King County by storm and I do mean storm. That storm withered property values, deteriorated our neighborhoods, and imported poverty and crime to South King County area like ants to sugar.

    In her zealotry she most likely thinks she has done nothing wrong but the results stare at us and we are left to repair the damage, if we can. Her political puppets are still in the game and any heir apparent will be no different.

    Being pragmatic was never in Ms. Patterson’s repertoire and we are left with a shell of what SeaTac and other neighboring Cities could have been without her socialistic meddling. Voting to make our County a “sanctuary City” for illegal immigrants was just one of the idiotic things that drew poverty and refugees to an area that was formerly middle class affordable housing for South King County.
    And she wanted more as does her ilk.

    In the City of SeaTac Ms. Patterson managed to control the SeaTac Council and its elected officials. Her husband and daughter work for the City but her elitist cult, centered in Angle Lake, have made up the majority of Council seats since the City’s inception. The irony here is that most Angle Lake residents are not elitists but were hoping she knew better than to hurt the rest of the City of SeaTac. She did not. Her fellow elitist next door neighbor, Ms. Gregerson, is now firmly entrenched on the council to continue the Patterson legacy of economic de-construction of that City.

    Yes Ms. Patterson it will be good to see your backside and that’s not a compliment. It just means you are leaving and we are left to mitigate the decades of damage you have imposed on us all.

  2. Erin Sitterley says:

    ” The principle of equity has been a motivating factor throughout Councilmember Patterson’s career, driving her to ensure that all people, regardless of race, gender, or zip code have the opportunity for health and prosperity. ”

    Ah, yes, the “equity principle”. Julia’s motivation for “equity” has driven any opportunity for health and prosperity in her district over a cliff. Working class citizens and taxpayers have either fled or find themselves stuck here, mired in property that no longer holds any value and unable to sell. Economic development? Business growth? REAL, career path jobs? Improved standards of living? Nope. Progress, development and growth, all sacrificed on the absurd altar of “equity”.

    Julia’s legacy, regardless of what spin she and her groupies place on it, will be that of decline and poverty in our communities. There is no equity here, no social “justice” , only the steady destabilization of what was once a nice, middle class suburb.

    I will close by expressing my sincere thanks to Julia Patterson for deciding not to seek another term on the KC Council. . May she also decline to seek any other elected or appointed position that will give allow her to foist any more destruction on our community.

  3. Earl Gipson says:

    I would like the residents of South King County/SeaTac who have been here for the 23 years or more weigh in on how Ms. Patterson’s policies have improved their lives, businesses, and overall well-being. Her agenda seemed to go against those of her original constituents/supporters and she had to import new ones that insured her continuous re-election as the original supporters got out of town. SeaTac alone lost 30 percent of its registered voters from 2001 to 2011. If you don’t believe me look it up on the King County Election’s website.


  4. May says:

    One caracter leaves and another one of their friends takes over. The state of wash is so corrupt.