Congressman McDermott announces retirement; Edmonds business owner declares candidacy for seat

Congressman Jim McDermott takes questions at the Edmonds Theater in December 2012.
Congressman Jim McDermott takes questions at the Edmonds Theater in December 2012.

Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott — who has been in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1989 and has represented Edmonds and Woodway along with all of Seattle, plus other parts of the Seattle area, since redistricting in 2013 — on Monday announced he will be retiring and won’t seek re-election this year.

Edmonds was previously in the 1st Congressional District, and city ended up in the 7th District — with McDermott as its congressman — following redistricting.

One candidate who has already declared for McDermott’s seat is Jeff Stilwell, co-owner of MaJe Gallery in downtown Edmonds.

Stilwell, a Democrat who lives in Seattle, co-founded along with his wife Manya Vee the Edmonds Art Walk, Edmonds Mural Society, and Edmonds Tunes.

In an announcement sent Monday morning, Stilwell said he wants to run “a campaign of Big Ideas that gets government working again. I’m tired of small bore ideas. I’m tired of whining that we can’t get government to work anymore,” he added.

Jeff Stilwell doorbelling. (Photo courtesy Stilwell campaign)
Jeff Stilwell doorbelling. (Photo courtesy Stilwell campaign)

Stilwell said he wants to close the gender wage gap, and to ensure that education from PreK-14 is nationally funded.

“I believe those first two years of college should be made available free as a national right to prepare our children for the Information Age,” Stilwell said.

He is also campaigning for a space elevator.

“Not a lot of people have heard about the space elevator. It’s a ribbon of carbon reaching straight up into the sky from the Pacific Ocean. It sounds like sci-fi, but so did the trans-continental railroad back in the 1860s. Our children will make their name exploring the stars,” he said.

In addition, Stillwell is advocating for a global Wi-Fii system.

“A constellation of global Wi-Fi satellites is the cheapest and safest way I can think of to deprive ISIS and al-Queda of their foot soldiers because those boys will be too busy facebooking girls to even think about becoming suicide bombers,” he said.

Stilwell has scheduled a meet and greet at MaJe Gallery (409 Main Street, Edmonds), on Thursday, Jan. 14, from 7-8 p.m.

For more information about Stilwell’s campaign, visit

16 Replies to “Congressman McDermott announces retirement; Edmonds business owner declares candidacy for seat”

  1. Let me see if I’m understanding this correctly;

    * Representative Jim McDermott is resigning at the end of this election term. (November)
    * Mr. Stilwell is announcing his candidacy and meet & greet 10 days from now.
    * Mr. Stilwell and his wife do not live in the district he’s campaigning to represent.
    * Mr. Stilwell is asking for people to support his ambiguous statements of “close the gender wage gap”, “ensure that education from PreK-14 is nationally funded”, “a space elevator” and “a constellation of global Wi-Fi satellites”

    Is this some sort of joke? If not, I wish Mr. Stilwell the best of luck selling these ideas. But, how is all of this to be funded and whom is going to be the oversight organizations for these programs? How many more people will they need to hire, on our tax dollars, to do their jobs?

    * Close the gender wage gap – please have a conversation with President Obama. Maybe he could set an example of wage equality among the genders.

    * Free community college – where is the incentive for our children to achieve academic success in their grammar, junior and senior school years if yet another handout is awaiting them, if they just do the time? How does this tax payer funded idea cover those children that have no wish to continue in academia and wish to pursue a particular trade within their skill set?

    * A Space Elevator – Hmmm? Red Flag. Do you actually think tax payers will support some sort of sight seeing bafoonery vs uh I don’t know, helping veterans with their needs, mental health issues or solving homelessness?

    * A constellation of Wi-Fi satellites – Please do some research on the costs of this idea and propose how it will be funded. Additionally, satellite internet connectivity is already available and the poorest quality of internet connectivity available. So how are you planning on funding this concept, improving quality and making it affordable to all?

    Hint – call Bernie Sanders campaign team and they may be able to help you define how the plan works, taking money from one group and dispersing it to whom ever government deems is more worthy.

    Happy Election Season To All


  2. Thank you. The way I read the story, it came across as Edmonds and a small portion of MLT were the district for the seat.


    1. I updated it to make it more clear and deleted Mountlake Terrace altogether as it appears from the map that the 7th district does not include it.


  3. Thank you Mr. Stilwell for stepping forward. We all benefit from those big ideas!! We ALL benefit from EDUCATION for all and we ALL benefit from a level playing field for all of us on this small planet. Yes, big ideas.

    Encouraging all my hometown Seattle friends and new Edmonds friends to get on board this train! Big ideas!


  4. In my opinion, Mr. Stilwell needs to take his big ideas somewhere else. We need less government, not more regulations that make things worse.


    1. I agree 100 percent. Can you imagine how many undocumented people a NEW FREE COLLEGE bureaucracy would create?


  5. You can thank regulations for the very air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we consume, working conditions, etc., etc. and many other LIFE sustaining “big ideas” that support human life and move us forward as a species.

    A good example of the disregard of ” big ideas” is unfolding right now down in the state of Oregon. We are a civilized nation and our laws and regulations are there to keep it that way.


  6. Oh boy, I’m very happy McDermott is FINALLY going. We need these old party folks out. Term limits in. It’s a start. Anyone that thinks college should be free is crazy. My step grandson got his college paid for because he was the first in his family to ever go to college, (government paid for) and squandered it all because it was free. 5 years later he agrees. He dropped out of school (he was very bright) because he didn’t have to work to get any of it. Ultimately went into the Navy and they made a man of him. He then grew up and found out if you don’t work, sweat, appreciate, life you will not succeed. That is exactly what would happen here. By the way there is no such thing FREE anything. Someone will be paying this bill. WHO? Homeowners. They are the easiest to add the tax to…


  7. Congressman McDermott has been an amazing representative and he will be missed. Thank you for looking out for Washington residents all these years and being such a strong voice for the poor, the environment, women and for being one of the few to stand up to the republican drive for the Iraq war (you were right Congressman, they did lie to us).

    Love your ideas, Mr. Stillwell! America is far behind most of the rest of the western world already which already offers free college or greatly reduced tuition costs.


  8. I tend to commend any individual willing to put service or mission above self. Fortunately, my safeguard to my positive and appreciative nature is that I can exercise where I place my vote. I will not be attending a Stilwell event or casting my vote in his direction – but thank you Mr. Stilwell for your contributions to Edmonds.

    With regard to McDermott – his staff was typically approachable when it came to our work with Veterans – but ineffective (but in fairness, that wasn’t limited to his staff). I found him to be less accommodating (and yet we both served the same branch of service). Best wishes McDermott. It is time for a more conservative, tactical, get-er-done, individual.

    Unfortunately, with this district strongly supporting candidates that lean more toward socialism, it will be a heavy lift for the individual who chooses to speak common sense.


  9. Perhaps I’m not understanding a few of the points above, but since when does offering 2 years of college and advocating for scientific investment in space exploration not equate with common sense? The space program was one of the biggest contributors and drivers of our economy through the 60s, 70s and 80s. The other was/is the defense budget. The fact that they were inextricably linked is not lost on me but the science that came from the NASA during that time was astounding.

    As for free college, well, I would ask this: would you rather have an intelligent thoughtful ambitious undocumented immigrant or an ignorant bored angry undocumented immigrant. (The fact that there are undocumented immigrants is a forgone conclusion, the economics of it are compelling to a large segment of our society so Congress won’t actually do anything about the problem.)

    I think that denigrating Mr. Stilwell for having vision and foresight is unseemly and unworthy of the fine people of South Snohomish County. The young fellow who wasted his college experience wasn’t because it was free. It was because he wasn’t emotionally ready for college. I did the same thing and I was paying for it! (yes, that was really dumb)

    It seems to me that conservatives believe they have a lock on common-sense thinking. Well, I’d agree that they may have a lock on cautious thinking, as a liberal I’m not generally risk adverse, but common-sense by it’s very definition means ideas that are common to all. In other words, a set of self-evident ideas that we can all agree on. I find that working with and talking to conservatives in a cooperative manner leads to these commons sense conclusions. But without views from the opposite political spectrum, ideas developed by one side invariably only make sense to that side. To the other side they are non-sensical. Conservative voices I trust allow me to hone and sharpen my thinking. I wish more people in Congress thought that way about the other side of the aisle.

    If anything, I think Representative McDermott fell prey to his own hubris at times. A common affliction among pols in office for so long. But he undeniably served his country and represented us well. I will welcome new thinking and new ideas in our district. As for Mr. Stilwell, there are a lot of other issues to discuss before I would check his name for representing me in Congress. I look forward to the race, and I do hope that the Republicans can field an interesting and strong conservative voice, as it will help keep us liberals on our toes!


  10. It is very interesting that Edmonds was gerrymandered to be included in the Seattle 1st District…hmm-m-m-m

    We are NOT Seattle!


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