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Three Out Of Four Of Washington’s Biggest Cities Will Likely Have Women Mayors

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
Seattle mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan, right, is greeted by former Gov. Chris Gregoire at an election night party Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Seattle.

Seattle is getting its first woman mayor since Bertha Knight Landes was elected in in 1926. Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan is set to become mayor. 

Women will now likely hold the top office in three out of four of Washington state’s biggest cities.

Vancouver, Washington, is set to get its first woman mayor ever. Anne McEnerny-Ogle has a decisive lead over her opponent, Steven Cox.

Tacoma may get its second woman mayor in a row if Victoria Woodards holds on to her lead over Jim Merritt. If those early results hold up, only Spokane out of the top four biggest cities in the state will have a male mayor.

“I think it’s about time,” said Amy Ockerlander, who is likely the next mayor of the city of Duvall in northern King County. She leads her opponent, Jason Walker, by more than 35 percentage points.

Ockerlander said more women have been motivated to run for office this year, including for city council in Duvall.

“Some of those people ran partly because of what was going on nationally and partly because of a fear of a loss of women’s rights and not having equal rights when it comes to reproductive health, child care, medical care, et cetera,” she said.

Of course, women politicians in Washington state are nothing new. Washington was the first to have women in both U.S. Senate seats and in the governor’s office.

Kelli Linville became mayor of Bellingham in 2012 after a long career in the legislature. She said she still encounters out-of-date assumptions.

“There are people that still, because I’m the first woman mayor, put their hand out to shake my husband’s hand when they’re being introduced to the mayor of Bellingham, which embarrasses him and makes me laugh,” she said.

Linville said she simply sticks out her hand and introduces herself as mayor. She said it’s an opportunity to help educate people about their own bias.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.