Leader in police reform and criminal justice innovation looks to continue working for a just, livable city as Seattle addresses immediate challenges and ongoing turnover in City Hall
SEATTLE – City Attorney Pete Holmes announced today that he will seek re-election in 2021, to continue his decade of leadership in Seattle’s police reform effort – and provide stability next term with both a new mayor and new city council leadership. The City faces unprecedented challenges stemming from a global pandemic that has impacted families, working people, small businesses, and our quality of life, and Holmes believes his record of thoughtful reform and focus on protecting the people of Seattle provide a foundation for the City’s “Great Reset,” as Seattle recovers and moves forward amid demands for an overdue racial reckoning.
First elected in 2009, Holmes has worked at all levels of government to address needed reforms and policies to improve public safety while fighting to see that our criminal justice system reflects shared progressive, fact-based values. Holmes has helped change statewide sentencing laws to protect immigrants from deportation, worked to both legalize cannabis and vacate past possession criminal records, redoubled the City’s efforts to address gun violence, and steadfastly worked to overcome institutional racism and advance racial equity. Holmes has also served as a consistent liaison between the City and the federal judge overseeing the Department of Justice Consent Decree, ensuring that necessary structural changes are pursued despite frequent turnover in Seattle’s executive and legislative branches since 2012.
“My record of steady servant-leadership for the people of Seattle – in pursuit of the fundamental needs of safety, fairness, and reform for the benefit of all – is more urgently needed than ever,” said Holmes. “Seattle faces historic challenges – and opportunities – and I am committed to fighting for safe, livable neighborhoods and a revitalized downtown and small business districts, while never losing sight of the pressing need to restore trust in our police department, even as we select our next chief of police and negotiate new police union contracts. Now, more than ever, we need to rally behind our new president and truly ‘Build Back Better’ with federal, state, county, and city collaboration that reaffirms Seattle’s values as a more just and compassionate community.”
Holmes has outlined priorities for a new term, including continuing his leadership on police reform; expanding civil litigation efforts to hold accountable corporate polluters, thwart wage theft, and counter workplace violations; and expanding effective and proven criminal diversion programs and specialized mental health and community courtrooms to better address the complexity of those arrested and charged with misdemeanor offenses.
“I share the frustration of many in our city as we struggle to support the chronically homeless into housing and services, while a few prey on the weakness of the unsheltered and the community around them,” said Holmes. “While the City Attorney does not enact criminal laws or direct police policy, we will continue to advise on best practices, including alternatives to arrest, misdemeanor diversion programs, and specialized courts that address root causes of criminal behavior – including behavioral health crises and substance abuse disorders.”
“Our prosecutors will continue the painstaking job of safeguarding the rights – and message – of peaceful protestors, while ferreting out those who would bring violence to Seattle and undermine the urgent racial reckoning now underway. As we work to preserve the rule of law with pandemic-restricted court operations, we’ll continue to build upon our successes and consider other models from around the country.”
Holmes will once again participate in Seattle’s innovative Democracy Voucher program. In 2017, Holmes was the first candidate to qualify for vouchers following adoption by voters the previous year. Holmes’ office successfully defended Seattle’s public campaign finance program through to the United States Supreme Court.
“I’ve always enjoyed getting out and talking to the people of Seattle about their concerns, priorities, and ideas for making Seattle a more just and livable city,” said Holmes. “With the pandemic forcing too much of our lives online and toward greater isolation, I will be looking for other ways to engage with voters and stakeholders from all walks of life. For me, the grassroots aspects of campaigning – from coffee shops to collecting vouchers – are part of remaining in touch and accountable to the people I serve. I look forward to continuing in this role, as we address the challenges and opportunities of the coming years.”
Holmes begins the campaign with early endorsements including Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) co-founder and Public Defender Association Executive Director Lisa Daugaard, Seattle City Councilmembers Teresa Mosqueda, Lisa Herbold, and Andrew Lewis, King County Councilmembers Rod Dembowski and Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 36th LD Rep. Liz Berry, Attorney David Perez, civic leader Rick Steves, and many more.
Pete and his wife Ann live in the Seward Park Neighborhood with an adorable, adopted beagle named Lucy, and six rambunctious chickens. They have two adult children.