Rick Steves endorses Mike Rosen for mayor

Rick Steves, right, with Mike Rosen during the candidate’s campaign kickoff. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

One of Edmonds’ most prominent names has endorsed Mike Rosen in the race for Edmonds mayor. Rick Steves announced Saturday he is supporting Rosen, who is challenging incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson in the November general election.

“This is a decision that I take seriously,” Steves said, adding that for months he has “deliberated on who will get my vote, talking with friends, going out for coffee privately with both candidates, and watching the (June 22 mayoral) debate.”

Four years ago, Steves — known not only for his European travel business but his political activism and philanthropy — endorsed Nelson in his race against opponent Neil Tibbott to become Edmonds mayor. While Steves said he calls current Mayor Nelson “a friend” — and one that he is “more politically in tune with” — he added that “the Mayor of Edmonds is not a partisan position — it’s an administrative position. And I think Mike Rosen will be a better administrator for Edmonds.”

Steves noted he met Rosen in 2020 on a task force to save the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, and “I saw his people skills and organizational smarts in action. He has an energetic and collaborative style, and I found him simply fun to work with. Since then, I’ve been impressed by the passion, integrity, and hard work that has characterized his mayoral campaign, and I can imagine those same traits in a Mayor Rosen.

“Many people with a far better understanding of what it takes to run this city — people I have great respect for — have heartily endorsed Rosen,” Steves continued. “I value continuity, and a second term for a good mayor is a great thing — but continuity of staff is also important. I think that Rosen will bring a more collaborative vibe to city government and do a better job of both attracting and retaining talented civil servants.

In addition, Steves said, “I want a mayor whose focus is on bringing caring citizens together — an approachable leader who brings joy to the position, has an appetite for cheerleading in public, is present with gusto at events from the Summer Market to the various galas, and is simply just out and about around town.”

Steves said the last time he met with Rosen, “we talked about the dance between development and maintaining the green, small-town charm of Edmonds, which will be the challenge of any mayor. Mike is well aware that this town expects a leader who is a good steward of our environment, and I take him at his word that he will be one.”

As for current Mayor Mike Nelson, Steves said he “has worked hard, has the right priorities, and, given the pandemic cards he was dealt, I think he has done a good job running Edmonds,” adding “he has my respect.”

Howevever, Rosen “is too much of an inspirational ball of mayoral energy to not make my decision public,” Steves said. “So, for Mayor of Edmonds, he’s the Mike I’m endorsing.”

— By Teresa Wippel


  1. Ouch that’s got to hurt, but I agree the current mayor needs to go. I think he would be much better being a store manager at a target store. Don’t let the door hit you.

    1. Jim, in my opinion, your comments are uncalled for and not at all in keeping with the spirit or tone conveyed by Mr Steves. Support for one candidate can be expressed without attacking the humanity of the other. Thank you Mr Steves for the civility with which you shared your thought process and opinion; we can learn from your example.

      1. Annon
        My apologies for my harsh language but I wasn’t the one who tried to take away my constitutional rights and threw “the right man for the job” his words under the bus in favor of a unqualified applicant, we have a unusual number of senior staff that have left and many others that aren’t happy. I would send him a personal email of condolences but his record would indicate i wouldn’t get a reply. I don’t wish him ill will just gone I figure our city will be better off.

  2. Regardless of whether you agree with him or not on this subject, you have to have great respect and admiration for Rick in doing this interview with Teresa. I suspect it was very difficult for him. One of the hardest things to do in life is tell a friend or loved one something they might not want to hear. To also need to do it publicly, due to the circumstances, is a double act of courage, self respect and mutual respect. We all need to learn to have a little more tolerance and empathy for each other and that’s double hard to do in the middle of a contentious political election. Thanks for this lesson in courage, Rick. You are indeed, a very good man! Thanks for putting up with me for a neighbor.

  3. Good job Rick Steves. I am sure this was a difficult decision and I hope it doesn’t affect your relationship with a friend. I imagine it won’t. I don’t know Mike Nelson but somehow, I don’t think he will hold a grudge at all. I know in many ways his heart is in the right place. We just need in Edmonds true Diversity for all. We are a mixed bag in Edmonds and kindness will always win in the end. That is how I feel and my want.. I have many friends around the country, and they are from all spectrums. We have managed to discuss issues and still find our way to keeping our friendships intact and learned a lot from each other. I have watched the R move center and the L too. I still hope to meet you, Rick. I have always wanted to meet you and have a conversation. As I said once before I have a friend who does Italy every year and all I have heard about you from her is what a nice guy you are, and how wonderful her trips with her daughter have been. The pics are amazing! Thank you for this kind way to keep a friend and maybe agree to disagree in some ways. Makes for good conversation and progress.

  4. Thank you, Rick Steves, for the hard work and careful thought you put into this endorsement. I am voting for Mike Rosen too.

  5. I too commend Mr. Steves for his words of wisdom. Specifically recognizing that “the Mayor of Edmonds is not a partisan position — it’s an administrative position.” I think all too often we miss that point. Administration of city services, as budgeted by our City Council, requires a specific set of skills which not everyone possess. Sometimes we don’t know, or it’s not evident if we have these skills until we’ve been put in a leadership position. A position requiring managing a team to achieve value-added results. We then either demonstrate our capabilities or learn from the experience and apply it to our next opportunity.

  6. Thank you, Mr. Steves. I too commend you for your thoughtful letter. It’s difficult to publicly take a position in a local election that may be contrary to the interests of a personal friend (who happens to be the incumbent). But your well-reasoned letter is a model of decorum about why the best interests of the city need to take precedence over personal friendship when choosing our next mayor. It is appreciated, and I hope your message can help set the tone as our community deliberates about local elections over the next month.

  7. Rick Steves thoughtful letter points out, it’s important in our local elections to choose based on who you think will be best for the job and not of their partisan attributes or endorsements, even if it’s personally challenging at times.

  8. I do wish someday to meet Rick. His very thoughtful take on the mayoral position is one of integrity and professionalism. I graduated with Mike Rosen in high school, and I can attest he’s always been considerate, and a true friend to all. Yes, it must have been gut wrenching to support another than his friend, but I think everyone out in Edmonds will be ecstatic with a win by Mr. Rosen. Cheers to all in your neck of the woods!

    Joel LeGrande
    Green Bay, WI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.