Edmonds resident Adam Cornell, a 15-year Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor, announced Monday that he is running for the job of Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney in 2018.
Cornell, a Democrat, has received the endorsement of incumbent Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe, who is retiring from the position. He has also received the endorsement of Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling, Police Chief Al Compaan and the entire Edmonds City Council.
This is the first time Cornell has run for public office. In 2015, he had submitted his name as a candidate for appointment to a vacant Edmonds City Council seat that was eventually offered to current Councilmember Mike Nelson.
“I am excited to seek this new role, building on my experience and commitment to the families of Snohomish County,” Cornell said in an announcement Monday. “I want to be Prosecutor to preserve the tradition of seeking justice fairly, firmly, and ethically to protect our communities.”
In his announcement, Cornell said he was drawn to the law by challenges he faced in his own life, growing up in foster care and experiencing the disruption and destabilization that results in disproportionately lower graduation rates, and higher involvement with juvenile justice.
“I want to be a Prosecutor who can be a strong voice for kids at risk of slipping through the cracks, making sure more foster children and those who face an uncertain future are given hope and opportunity,” Cornell said. “I want to inspire others to public service and civic engagement, and encourage a spirit of volunteerism that connects people to their neighbors in a meaningful way—for the good of everyone in our region.”
In 2016, Cornell received the Washington State Bar Association’s Public Service Award, recognizing his efforts to improve the foster care system at the federal and state levels.
During his tenure at the Prosecutor’s office, Cornell noted that he has prosecuted some of the highest profile criminal cases, but has also focused on expanding alternative justice programs, especially those aimed to help people suffering mental illness and addiction crises receive treatment instead of incarceration. Cornell said he views these types of alternative sentencing and treatment programs as critical to not only improving criminal justice, but also reducing low level property crimes connected to the opioid epidemic.
“Having stood at crime scenes with first responders and having later met with the families devastated by tragedy, I am unwavering in my dedication to justice and seeking sentencing that brings a degree of resolution in serious crimes,” Cornell said. “Alongside ensuring justice for crime victims and families, support is also needed for innovations like drug and mental health courts to help assist low level offenders with unique challenges that often require alternatives to traditional prosecution and sentencing.”