A new year brings in new faces at City Hall. Monday, January 6th was the official inauguration and swearing in ceremony for our district City Councilmembers. The majority of Wallingford is part of City Council District four, represented now by Alex Pedersen. A stretch of northern Wallingford above 50th is included in District six, which has Dan Strauss as its new Councilmember since Monday.
Councilmember Pedersen has actually been on the job since late November due to our previous Councilmember Rob Johnson not completing his full term. Since Johnson’s replacement Abel Pacheco was appointed, not elected, Pederson was able to start at City Hall a few weeks after the election was finalized. Alex Pedersen comes to City Hall with a long history of working in affordable housing both in the public and private sector, including working under the Clinton administration for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known by the acronym HUD.
Alex Pedersen will be chairing the Transportation and Utilities committee, a large committee which is responsible for more than half of the City’s budget, and he will be vice-chair on the Public Assets and Native Communities committee. He will also have a seat on the Community Economic Development committee, Land Use and Neighborhoods committee, and Sustainability and Renter’s Rights committee. He will serve as an alternate on Public Safety and Human Services.
Councilmember Pedersen has set up district office hours every Friday afternoon at Magnuson Park in the Building 30 conference room. These “Fridays in 4” office hours are scheduled by appointment using this link. If you would like to read Pedersen’s blog or sign up for his newsletter, click here to visit his City Council homepage.
The City of Seattle has no official neighborhood borders, but there are many who consider some blocks north of 50th and west of I-5 as Wallingford (65th Street is the upper border for membership in the Wallingford Community Council). If you live in this northern stretch of the neighborhood, then your new District 6 Councilmember is Dan Strauss. (Still not sure which City Council district you are in? Check this link to find out.)
No stranger to City Hall, most recently Dan Strauss served as a senior policy adviser to outgoing Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. Stepping into his new role as Councilmember, Strauss will be chairing the Land Use and Neighborhoods committee and he will vice-chair Transportation and Utilities. He will also have a seat on Finance and Housing, and Governance and Education committees, and will be an alternate on the Public Assets and Native Communities committee.
Councilmember Strauss’s first day on the job was Monday, so he will need a little more time to set up official office hours, but he does plan to have a district office in Ballard and to be regularly available in various neighborhoods throughout District six. To find Strauss’s contact information or sign up for his newsletter, visit this link.
Both Councilmembers seem excited to get to work and open and available to their new constituents (that’s you!). I want to say congratulations to our new Councilmembers Alex Pedersen in District four and Dan Strauss in District six. Politics can often be a slow and messy process, but for now I’m cautiously optimistic that with this new Council we are moving in the right direction. I hope they prove me right.