Marilyn Strickland, Seattle chamber CEO and former Tacoma mayor, to run for Congress | KNKX

Marilyn Strickland, Seattle chamber CEO and former Tacoma mayor, to run for Congress

Dec 19, 2019

Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma’s former mayor and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, announced Thursday that she’s running for Congress in Washington’s 10th District. The seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, who recently announced he would not seek re-election in 2020.

“Mayors get things done, and I’ll take that same focus and energy to represent the 10th District in the other Washington,” Strickland said in a news release. “The South Sound is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. We need a forward thinking representative in Congress to solve the challenges that come with growth – from transportation and housing to health care and climate change.”

Strickland specifically called out health care costs, clean air and water, and access to college as issues at the center of her campaign. She also touted her deep South Sound roots and regional leadership experience on economic, education and infrastructure issues.   

“Over the past three years, the Trump Administration has systematically dismantled decades of progress — and they aren't done yet,” she said in the release. “Now more than ever we need to send a progressive leader to Congress who can stand up for our values and knows how to get things done. Denny Heck has been a courageous leader for our region, and I am thankful for his hard work over the past seven years. I look forward to building upon his legacy in Congress.”

Her endorsements listed in the release include former Gov. Christine Gregoire, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, among other South Sound mayors and elected officials.

Strickland, who was born in Seoul into a military family, was Tacoma’s first Korean- and African-American mayor. She earned a degree in sociology from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in business from Clark-Atlanta University. She attended Tacoma Public Schools.  

Diana Birkett Rakow, chair of the Seattle chamber, praised the news in a statement released Thursday.

“We need good people willing to run, to listen to constituents, to care deeply about the elements of an inclusive economy, and to retain and create reason for optimism about our government,” Rakow said. “I am personally grateful for Marilyn’s willingness to step up and wish her all the best in this endeavor.”