Edmonds City Councilmember Luke Distelhorst on Wednesday announced his campaign to retain his Position 2 seat, to which he was appointed in January 2020.
“When my council position began I could not ever have imagined how quickly our world would change,” he said. “Responding to the pandemic and keeping Edmonds residents safe and healthy became my primary focus. My heart goes out to the families, friends and neighbors who have lost loved ones, jobs, and are experiencing overwhelming hardship due to COVID-19.”
In response to the emergency, Distelhorst noted he authored a residential eviction moratorium and the Housing and Relief Program that eventually distributed $580,000 to Edmonds residents. Representing the council on the city’s Recovery Task Force kept Distelhorst involved in tackling community health and safety issues and navigating how to best support the unique small businesses located throughout Edmonds.
Distelhorst is facing election after he was appointed last year to fill out the remainder of Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson’s council term. Three of the council’s seven seats — Positions 1, 2 and 3 — are up for election this year. Kristiana Johnson, who holds Position 1, is a retired transportation planner who has been on the council since 2012. Position 3 is held by three-term Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, a retired state government manager who was first elected to the council in 2009.
Distelhorst joins three other candidates who have also announced their intent to run for the council during the 2021 election. They include Edmonds business owner Will Chen and former City Councilmember Neil Tibbott, who have not yet decided which positions they will run for, and Edmonds Planning Board member Alicia Crank, who will seek Position 1.
Among his other accomplishments during his year on the council, Distelhorst pointed to efforts — along with Councilmember Susan Paine — to pass a new city policy “to address legal inequities connected to driving-related offenses and allow justice resources to focus on issues of more pressing public safety.” Last fall, Distelhorst led a group of city and community partners to produce online events and advocacy work around mental health and suicide prevention for residents of all ages.
“These are the policies and actions I want to continue serving on council for: to support the wellbeing of all Edmonds residents and to ensure that we are creating equitable opportunities for our residents to live, work and play in this wonderful city,” added Distelhorst.
Speaking to his ongoing work on the council, Distelhorst cited as a central aim the need to include all Edmonds neighborhoods in the city’s processes. He has also been working on a project to adopt voluntary targets for the city’s inclusion of underutilized or disadvantaged business groups, similar to Washington State guidelines.
“I know that Edmonds residents care deeply for each other, and our community,” he said. “Our community values for a just and equitable city must be strengthened and spread as economic development and residential growth continues to transform the city.”
This year, Distelhorst is serving as the council liaison to the Edmonds Diversity Commission, where he said intends “to be a resource for and amplify those voices who traditionally have not had a voice in their city government.”
“We are embarking on major investments along the Highway 99 corridor, and there are real opportunities to address past systemic injustices and to create new opportunities and provide community resources that are accessible to all of our residents,” he added.
Distelhorst also represents the council on the Alliance for Housing Affordability, Snohomish County Tomorrow and the Edmonds Housing Commission — all of which have provided first-hand insight into the challenges facing Edmonds and neighboring cities due to sustained growth, he said.
“I am committed to working with our community to provide more types, sizes, and price points for housing,” he said. “Aging in place, welcoming new families, and ensuring that our first responders, teachers, and essential workers have options to live near where they work is good for our economy, our environment, and our city’s resiliency.”
Among the elected officials who have endorsed Distelhorst’s campaign are State Reps. Cindy Ryu and Lauren Davis; State Sen. Marko Liias; Snohomish County Councilmembers Stephanie Wright, Jared Mead and Megan Dunn; Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Greggerson; Edmonds City Councilmembers Susan Paine and Laura Johnson and Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson.
Distelhorst’s professional background includes more than 14 years of experience in outreach and communications work, in both private and public sector positions. He currently does community outreach and engagement work for Community Transit and is the board president of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. He also served three years as president of the Friends of the Edmonds Library and two years with the Edmonds Young Professionals group of the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on Distelhorst’s campaign, visit LukeForEdmonds.com