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Seattle’s New District Elections Bring More Diversity To City Council; Greater Need For Cooperation

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Daniel X. O'Neil via Creative Commons
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Despite strong leads for all of the incumbents in Seattle’s city council races, the new council will be younger and more diverse than the current one. That’s one likely effect of the new district elections. 

Women will make up the majority of Seattle’s new city council; and it will have two Latinas, one of whom is also Native American.

All of the council members will be dealing with high-priority citywide issues. But for the first time in a century, seven of the nine seats will also represent specific districts.

Departing council member Nick Licata says that means they will have to respond to more localized concerns.

“As to, ‘Can this thing really be built here? Can it really be that tall? What’s the permit process? Can we appeal it?’” he said.

Licata added he thinks this could usher in a new kind of cooperation in city hall.

“It’ll be up to each council member to persuade the other council members from other districts that this is a problem that affects their district and therefore they should have a common solution. And that will obviously necessitate good working relations among all the council members,” he said.

Licata says those relationships are always important, but the new district representation will likely test council members’ people skills more than ever. 

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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