ELECTION 2021: First West Seattleite in mayor’s race is City Council President Lorena González

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Since West Seattle Junction resident Lorena González – current City Council President – announced her run for mayor this morning, her phone’s been blowing up.

“80 text messages from friends and neighbors and family,” not to mention conversations like the one we had this afternoon, González replied when we asked her what the hours since her announcement have been like. “A really humbling outpouring of support … so overwhelming.”

The announcement was expected, even before Mayor Jenny Durkan announced two months ago that she wouldn’t run for re-election. She’s had aspirations for higher office for a while, launching a brief campaign for state attorney geenral a year and a half ago. She was a civil-rights lawyer before becoming the first Latinx member of the City Council, elected to citywide Position 9 for a two-year term in 2015, re-elected for a four-year term in 2017. She has owned a Junction condo for a decade, sharing it now with her husband and their toddler daughter.

Given the council’s strength, overriding mayoral vetoes in recent months, we asked her, why leave it to run for mayor?

The city is at a “critical crossroads,” she replied, and “we need somebody in the mayor’s office who understands the co-equal branches of government … somebody who’s willing to (use) her relationships with (other) elected officials” to advance “a bold and progressive agenda.” That agenda, González says, would tackle homelessness, economic equality, the ongoing economic recovery, public safety, and civil rights, among other issues.

We asked about the first item on her list. “Homelessness to me is really at its core an issue of poverty.” That hits close to home as, she says, “I grew up in poverty,” part of a farm-worker family in outdoor camps, with no access to proper hygiene. “I understand deeply how poverty affects your stability.” She wants to see a “holistic” effort to tackle homelessness, including mental and behavioral health and “substance-use issues,” as well as the shortage of affordable housing. She thinks it is possible to make a difference and is hopeful about the potential held by the relatively new Regional Homelessness Authority, on whose Governing Committee she serves. She also thinks voters might have to be asked to “consider additional funding for a huge investment in treatment.” After years of reductions in federal investment, she says, “We are digging ourselves out of a massive hole.”

Next, we ask about public safety, with councilmembers working toward big changes in the system. That’s a “long-term effort,” as González sees it, while resolutely in support of “transforming how we do public safety in our city … I hear all the time, from people of color especially, (that the) presence of officers doesn’t translate to crime prevention” – human-services systems must increase for that to be possible. That said, she also recognizes that “armed law-enforcement response” is needed too. What she sees ahead is an evaluation of “every line of SPD work” for a “realistic” plan on what could be transferred out of the department, and what needs to remain. “We can’t lose the sense of urgency,” she warns.

But in the meantime, we observe, this is a time of transition, and without systems in place to handle some of that public-safety work, SPD attrition is rising – how to ensure that doesn’t threaten public safety? González says interim SPD Chief Adrian Diaz is accountable for that, “to be sure current needs are being met.” The next mayor will be hiring a permanent chief, and she says that chief must be “committed to delivering public safety” while also transforming how it’s delivered. “These things are not in conflict with each other.”

Regarding the West Seattle Bridge, we ask about a recurring topic – will there ever be a review of how it got to the point of almost falling apart, with no public alarm having been raised before the day it was closed? In short, her reply is no – she feels time and money are better spent looking ahead and ensuring the bridge gets fixed.

We also asked her thoughts on annexing unincorporated North Highline (White Center), which isn’t being actively discussed right now but will someday re-emerge as a topic: She believes that annexing the area “would be an important equity initiative” and that “many would benefit from the services the city offers,” but she would want to see “anti-displacement and anti-gentrification policies in place before we pursued.

In general, what does González see as top issues for West Seattle, aside from the bridge? She says what she hears about most are the issues that apply to the entire city – public safety and homelessness, especially – but she also hears a lot about housing affordability. “We really have to look at the zoning laws and housing choice … across the city.’ She feels that “exclusionary zoning” has done a lot of harm.

González is one of seven people who have registered with the city so far saying they intend to campaign for mayor. The lineup for the August 3rd primary won’t be finalized until May.

77 Replies to "ELECTION 2021: First West Seattleite in mayor's race is City Council President Lorena González"

  • Eric February 3, 2021 (7:36 pm)

    Ah, no thank youshe is part of the problem not the solution 

    • Mj February 4, 2021 (10:28 am)


    • GC February 4, 2021 (3:50 pm)


  • WS Resident February 3, 2021 (7:47 pm)

    Great to see a women of color running for mayor, and I’m very intrigued by her plans to improve public safety. The only thing I’m concerned about is her disinterest in providing insight to why the West Seattle bridge almost fell apart. Perhaps these insights can be helpful in ensuring the well being of the infrastructure of Seattle, but that’s just me.

    • Barton February 4, 2021 (2:27 pm)

      Frankly, once upon a time I probably voted for her for City Council because she was a woman of color and I didn’t know much else about her other than her own words.  I will NEVER again vote for anyone that I know little about.  Largely based upon Ms. Gonzalez.  

    • CoCo February 5, 2021 (7:34 pm)

      She is so unqualified.

  • Delridge February 3, 2021 (7:51 pm)

    I am so excited!!! You’ve got my vote, Gonzalez! It’s about time Latinos and all POC get representation in this city. She stands to do some good in this city and I hope that she gets the support she needs to become our next Mayor. 

    • Candrewb February 4, 2021 (9:09 am)

      Durian didn’t represent people of color?

      • Candrewb February 4, 2021 (9:10 am)

        Durkan autocorrected to Durian

        • seaspades February 4, 2021 (9:32 pm)

          One could argue your autocorrect didn’t make a mistake.  Both are an acquired taste.

      • Delridge February 4, 2021 (2:45 pm)

        I almost didn’t want to entertain this response but, I am genuinely interested. How did Durkan support people of color? Additionally, are you BIPOC yourself or white?

        • Candrewb February 5, 2021 (12:14 pm)

          For starters, $100 million pledged for BIPOC community groups. I’m white. So therefore I shouldn’t vote for Gonzalez since she couldn’t represent the white community? Is that how it works? Seattle’s non Hispanic population is less than 8%. It would be an impossible victory for her if we all thought that way. 

    • Barton February 4, 2021 (2:29 pm)

      Ms. Gonzalez only represents the interests of Ms. Gonzalez.

  • Steve February 3, 2021 (7:54 pm)

    Pretty sure the council made some(really) bad decisions and the head of that council is running for mayor. Gonna be an easy win for her competition.

  • Omg February 3, 2021 (8:23 pm)

    Not a chance. She is the one letting the city council run a muck.If anything DEFUND the City Council. 

    • WS3 February 3, 2021 (9:37 pm)

      I would not vote for anyone that has been a part of the current council. They are a big part of the current problems.

      • CoCo February 5, 2021 (7:35 pm)


    • A muck February 4, 2021 (2:45 pm)

      it’s amok

      • SlimJim February 4, 2021 (5:10 pm)

        I think “a muck” sorta fits the city council too… ;-)

  • Fiz February 3, 2021 (8:36 pm)


  • Skeptic February 3, 2021 (8:43 pm)

    No one currently on the City Council has demonstrated the judgement or acumen to be better than Durkan, which is a pretty low bar.  She will not be getting my vote.

    • Voter February 3, 2021 (9:40 pm)

      The slate of mayoral candidates is horrible. No one will be getting my vote.

      • mw February 4, 2021 (5:18 am)

        Time to change that name then?

      • Candrewb February 4, 2021 (9:12 am)

        Liking Echohawk so far

    • Plf February 3, 2021 (9:47 pm)

      I can’t support anyone on the council they have had a significant impact on the problems this city is facing, why should any of them get a promotion personally the whole lot should be fired and replaced by moderates additinally no interest in understanding what the bridge is failing,  that shows a total lack of leadership, if you don’t learn from the past  you will repeat mistakes, I will cast my ballot and also vote with my wallet to support a moderate

  • Graciano February 3, 2021 (8:55 pm)

    Sorry, We need someone that will turn this City around.

  • The Truth February 3, 2021 (9:13 pm)

    That’s a hard no.  She flip flops positions on the regular.  Watch Chris Daniel’s interview with her from tonight, it’s poses some good questions with a telling answer. A leader she is not. She listens to the loudest voices but not the majority of the people she represents.  I am hoping Casey Sixkiller will jump in the mix.

  • justme February 3, 2021 (9:18 pm)

    She’ll probably win, because I’m not voting for her.

    • rb February 3, 2021 (9:26 pm)

      LOL. best comment ever. i feel the same. 

    • Kram February 4, 2021 (8:11 am)

      Hahaha, I feel this too. Seattle politics has solidified my belief that the people we really need to lead just don’t get into politics. However, this will no doubt be an entertaining race. I can’t wait to see all the comments on the WSB as the year progresses:)

      • reed February 4, 2021 (2:52 pm)

        “I can’t wait to see all the comments on the WSB as the year progresses:).”

        Agreed, it is a good humor outlet for me. It is always the same few dozen whiny people always complaining about the same issues. They feed off each other and convince themselves that their views represent  the views of the rest of west Seattle or the entire city in general. The outcomes of recent city elections say otherwise.

  • dsa February 3, 2021 (9:21 pm)

    AS leader of the council, she has allowed the SPD to loose employees and her statement here reinforces that trend, so a solid NO from this household.

  • Peter February 3, 2021 (9:48 pm)

    No thank you. I’m not voting for anyone on the City Council – many of today’s problems have only worsened under their watch. Would love to have more moderate voices in city leadership.

    • peacelover February 3, 2021 (10:02 pm)

      I totally agree! Wake up Seattleites, you are getting EXACTLY what you voted for! But why the rest of us having to suffer?

  • vee February 3, 2021 (10:03 pm)

    Never never never

  • 1994 February 3, 2021 (10:32 pm)

    Former council member Tim Burgess should run for mayor.  M. Lorena will not get my vote. 

  • Anoninstl February 3, 2021 (10:41 pm)

    She obviously can’t read the room. We need someone that can actually lead this city. This city council needs to fade away.

  • Anne February 3, 2021 (10:56 pm)


  • Sixbuck February 3, 2021 (11:07 pm)

    You couldn’t pay me enough to vote for her!Hard pass

  • Alki resident February 3, 2021 (11:12 pm)

    No thank you. I can’t stomach voting for anyone on the city council. She has no track record of improving Seattle to get the job. 

  • Handy February 3, 2021 (11:39 pm)

    NO! I am voting for infrastructure, public safety, transportation, and common sense. Not this.

  • Gigi February 4, 2021 (1:11 am)

    No way I am voting for her. Unfortunately, as a Latina, I don’t feel represented by Lorena González.

  • TM7302 February 4, 2021 (2:01 am)

    Gonzalez = NO

  • Xuu206 February 4, 2021 (4:35 am)

    NO way! NO how! NO thank you!! NO one on the city council will be getting my vote. This city needs a moderate mayor. 

  • JKW February 4, 2021 (6:07 am)

    First thought when hearing this was OH, NO WAY!!!  But the comment from Justme was my exact thought as well. We are doomed.

  • TreeHouse February 4, 2021 (6:23 am)

    Of all the announced candidates so far, I’m voting for Lorena!

  • Pedro February 4, 2021 (7:41 am)

    We don’t need another far left progressive in politics in Seattle, especially in the position of mayor. We need a moderate mayor (akin to Durkan) to act as a common sense meter to temper the council.Seattle is like the mirror image of the GOP in the house, with a fringe group of activist becoming the leaders of our city, despite being wildly unpopular. Indeed – the city council’s 37% approval rating was across the spectrum; with majorities of men and women, younger and older voters and white and people of color having a negative view of the council. To put this in perspective it’s barely above Trump’s all time low rating of 34% at the end of his “presidency.” In short, the objective data shows Seattleites do NOT embrace the counsel or it’s ideas or methods, as reflected in their dismal approval rating. I only hope a reasonable moderate candidate appears on the ballot – which seems unlikely in Seattle because of the loud and aggressive attack mentality of the far left progressives movement. So much for the “marketplace of ideas” upon which our country was founded – instead, we are left with one flavor, and it’s very bitter  

    • anonyme February 4, 2021 (8:59 am)

      Agreed.  Bitter, incompetent, and expensive.  Ms. Gonzalez states that she will raise taxes even higher in order to continue the failed experiment of throwing greater and greater amounts of money at the homelessness problem with little to no result.  Our tone-deaf politicians seem to think that now is a great time to demand even more money from desperate, cash-strapped voters.  I also agree with comments that no one on the council deserves to be mayor based on their terrible record.  We need a clean sweep of both mayor and council, with a more moderate approach that represents more than just a few special interest groups.

    • Kram February 4, 2021 (9:53 am)

      I imagine many people agree with you. The problem is the candidate pool. As unpopular as our council is the other candidates running are even more extreme. If the approval rating you mention meant anything the whole council would be voted out but that doesn’t happen. Didn’t all three incumbents win last election? The best example is our own district 1; Lisa Herbold is terrible but Tavil was much more flawed. I voted for Herbold even though she makes by blood boil. King County voting records show nearly 60% of people didn’t vote in the last off-year primary. Of the many reasons for that one is simply a lack of good candidates.

  • River February 4, 2021 (7:42 am)

    NO, obviously.

  • Um, No! February 4, 2021 (7:51 am)

    In true Seattle fashion of voting for horrible candidates and then complaining and wondering why this city is falling apart,  of course she will win.    I’m mean come on,  it’s Seattle. 

    • Voter February 4, 2021 (9:29 am)

      Mike the Mover or Spaceguy probably like their chances against this field. 

  • wendell February 4, 2021 (7:59 am)

    Shall we just start boarding up the remaining downtown storefront windows, and call it good?

  • AMD February 4, 2021 (8:47 am)

    From what I’ve seen from her on the council, I think she would be a great mayor!  Honestly, I think anything would be an improvement over Durkan, but I’ve seen great leadership and vision from her and look forward to hearing more about her plans as she campaigns.

  • Kulak February 4, 2021 (9:02 am)

    I’m trying to think how the city has improved in the the 3.5 years she has been in office and more recently how the city has precipitously declined in every metric since she has been leading the city council, so my household will be voting for anyone but her!

  • ccarp1234 February 4, 2021 (9:18 am)

    I won’t be voting for anyone who currently sits on the Seattle City Council. 

  • Cogburn February 4, 2021 (10:08 am)

    It is obvious to many that we need a change of government. She is not qualified to be mayor either. All about her special intertest which are a very narrow spectrum excluding most Seattleites, especially older homeowners who she has condemned. 

  • KB February 4, 2021 (10:24 am)

    Sadly, this is the “conservative,” option. Wait until you see who else joins the race. Good luck Seattle. 

  • aml February 4, 2021 (10:26 am)

    OMG No!  Gonzales has been right there with the council- they need to all go away.  She is worthless and is part of the demise of Seattle.  I hope she doesn’t win.   Next we will have Sawant trying for Mayor.  Please, someone that is moderate and competent & has a backbone would be welcomed.

  • Jort February 4, 2021 (10:29 am)

    It’s always a good reminder of the refrain of “NO NO NO NO NO NO NONONONONONONONO”ers on internet comment boards that they have been proven overwhelmingly wrong about politics in Seattle, over and over again, when we have an actual election and not a WSB comment chorus. I don’t make predictions about who will or will not win elections, because I am not stupid and don’t make definitive statements about things I can’t control. But one thing I can predict with reasonable certainty, because it has happened over and over again without exception in Seattle for years now, is that the comment chorus is not in any way representative of the voters of this city. This city is governed by voters, not by which Enumclaw resident has the most “respected” comments on 7,000th The Seattle Times article about “Seattle is Dying.”

    • Candrewb February 4, 2021 (12:01 pm)

      You’re right. Seattle is in great shape. I only had to evacuate my office three times last year. Hopefully this year will be even less!

    • Heartless? February 4, 2021 (4:43 pm)

      @ JORT Stupid voters, obviously.

  • Ivan Weiss February 4, 2021 (10:31 am)

    The ‘hell, no” comments on this thread crack me up. That’s about all I saw about Herbold, too, and she cruised to a comfortable victory.  Lorena has won citywide quite handily already, and of the candidates who have filed so far, she’s the best known, and the clear favorite. I hope Tim Burgess does run. She’d mop the floor with him. But he won’t.  Because he’s too smart to.

  • Sillygoose February 4, 2021 (11:10 am)

    Dear God PLEASE NO!!  As a Latina woman I 99.9% of the time will support other women of color but NOT THIS ONE!!!  City Council needs to be defunded and abolished and replaced with members that have integrity, intelligence and give a damn about this city.   

  • wseaturtle February 4, 2021 (11:12 am)

    despite her polling and mapping out new (what’s popular) positions,  her history proves a definite NO vote for me. 

  • trickycoolj February 4, 2021 (11:24 am)

    I would like to know her (and other candidates’) position on our city sanctioned broadband monopolies and increasing choices for gigabit broadband to ALL neighborhoods in the city. Many major employers are moving to permanent WFH if at least partial WFH plans post-covid and not having any alternatives to Comcast besides Satellite or Dial up speed from Clink is not acceptable for the city that’s home to multiple tech behemoths. 

    • WSB February 4, 2021 (11:58 am)

      That is a great question for candidates. We’ll be interviewing people before the primary as well as co-sponsoring a forum and will add that to the radar. – TR

    • Candrewb February 4, 2021 (1:56 pm)

      Murray was a huge Comcast backer so she’ll likely quietly allow the status quo.

  • Ron Swanson February 4, 2021 (11:50 am)

    LOL at these comments.  I’ll be back to post this on the election results thread

    “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if hundreds of internet commenters suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced”

  • TM7302 February 4, 2021 (12:00 pm)

    I have lived here since 2008 and will leave when I retire.  Can anyone say that this place has gotten better in the past 5 years? 10 years?  20 years?  Seattle is a far cry from the city that I first saw in 1984 but the reality is the population here is liberal/progressive and moving even farther left.  Can anyone really be surprised by this dramatic shift to the left?  Unfortunately, Tim Burgess is probably seen by crybaby progressives as too far right, and as a former Seattle police office doesn’t stand a chance in Seattle’s special interest oriented politics.

  • Parent February 4, 2021 (1:59 pm)

    Um, this is easy. NO, NOPE, HARD PASS!! 

  • Genesee Five Points February 4, 2021 (4:02 pm)

    Defund City Council… Nothing would be better than what we have now. They have done very little (if anything) to improve the city and have made Seattle a national punchline…  They are an embarrassment, every single last one of them.    

  • Brenda February 4, 2021 (4:58 pm)

    No freakin’ WAY. 

  • SlimJim February 4, 2021 (5:15 pm)

    No way. In attempting to be responsive to a segment of the population the city council has been irresponsible to us all. They seem to have no clue how their actions affects the city as a whole.

  • BlairJ February 4, 2021 (8:53 pm)

    Throw the bums out.

  • Pessoa February 4, 2021 (9:14 pm)

    I think the “Seattle is getting too progressive/lefty!” left the station a long, long time ago.  Seattle makes Berkeley, CA look like a bastion of moderation. 

  • NativeAM February 5, 2021 (10:31 pm)

    NO NO NO!! She is WAY too radical even for leftist Seattle. Crime on her watch has skyrocketed.  Vote her OUT!

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