Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson won’t seek re-election

Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson has announced he will not be running for re-election this year. He has endorsed current Snoqualmie City Council member Katherine Ross in her mayoral bid.

Larson has served as mayor of Snoqualmie since 2005, and was first elected as a city council member in 2001. During that time, he oversaw and guided the city through the Snoqualmie Ridge master planned community build-out. He said now that it is wrapping up, it’s time to retire from politics.

“It’s just been a phenomenal experience,” Larson said. “I certainly leave with mixed feelings.”

Also playing into that decision is that no other mayors in King County have served for 20 years, that he’s aware of. Larson ran for the Washington state House of Representatives District 5, Position 2, seat in 2016, but was beat by Darcy Burner in the primaries. Larson said there are no plans for future campaigns for state or county governance.

“The nonpartisan local politics is more of my DNA,” Larson said.

Despite that, he’s hoping to work in the government sector at some level.

While still in office as mayor, Larson hopes to continue working on the city’s COVID-19 recovery plan throughout the remainder of this year.

In a press release, Larson endorsed Ross for mayor. Ross has served four years on the city council, and as of May 18 (the first day of filing week), she was the only mayoral candidate who had registered a campaign with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.

Larson’s full statement can be read below:

Dear Beloved Snoqualmie Community,

After careful consideration, I have decided to not run for mayor this coming November. When first elected to City Council in 2001 and mayor in 2005, it was my goal to help guide our community through the complex completion of the Snoqualmie Ridge master planned community and the revitalization of the historic downtown. We have now reached that historic milestone. And while many have asked that I run again to help with our recovery from the pandemic, I am confident that a solid plan for recovery can be completed prior to the end of my current term.

Effectively implementing a plan for recovery while meeting ongoing needs and challenges will require someone with experience and established relationships with City staff and many community leaders. That is why I am giving my endorsement and full support to current Councilmember Katherine Ross to serve as our next mayor.

Katherine has not only served four years on the City Council; she has volunteered in supporting and leadership roles with organizations such as the Snoqualmie YMCA Board, Encompass, SVSD and Snoqualmie Library Board. She has been a champion for children and families and for creative and pragmatic solutions.

Katherine Ross also has valuable business experience having worked for 20 years in senior management. She has a degree in business administration and an MBA from Seattle University. In addition, she has been recognized by the Association of Washington Cities as a Certified Municipal Leader and has completed a two-year program with Leadership Eastside.

Serving as your mayor during the past 16 years has been one of the greatest privileges and experiences of my life. I am enormously proud of what this community has accomplished and become. I have been very blessed to have worked with hundreds of visionary, gifted and dedicated City staff members, City volunteers, elected representatives, business leaders, community leaders and experts in every field from sewer and eco systems to municipal and civil law. We all owe a great debt of gratitude to their combined efforts.

I am very pleased that the pedestrian-centric neo-traditional vision for the Snoqualmie Ridge master planned community has been realized. The work of revitalizing the historic downtown and neighborhoods continues in earnest with the reconstruction of city streets, boardwalks, and utilities. We continue efforts to make the Northwest Railway Museum a premiere destination. During my tenure we also completed the construction of a new fire station, beautiful new City Hall, and Snoqualmie Community Center.

Like you, I am profoundly excited about reopening our local economy in the months ahead. Working with the City Council and staff, I will do all I can to secure a smooth and successful transition by the end of the year. Thank you for your past and continuing support for me and this amazing community.

—Matt Larson, Mayor

Other seats

Four of the seven Snoqualmie City Council positions are also up for election this year. Terms for council members Bob Jeans (Pos. 1), Bryan Holloway (Pos. 3), Matthew Laase (Pos. 5) and Peggy Shepard (Pos. 7) are all expiring this year. As of May 18, several candidates had filed to run for city council.

They included Ethan Benson, who filed to run for the Pos. 1 seat, according to an announcement sent to Living Snoqualmie. According to the Public Disclosure Commission, Tanya Lavoy also filed to run for the Pos. 5 seat. Lavoy is the first vice-chair for the 5th District Democrats. Incumbent Matt Laase also registered to run for his Pos. 5 seat, according to the King County Elections website.

Jolyon Johnson registered to run for the Pos. 7 seat. Johnson is the chair of the city’s planning commission.

In North Bend, Alan Gothelf has registered with the county to run for re-election in his Pos. 2 city council seat, as had Ross Loudenback for Pos. 4. In Pos. 6, Mark Joselyn had registered as well.

In North Bend, three city council seats are up for elections. The seats of Alan Gothelf (Pos. 2), Ross Loudenback (Pos. 4) and Chris Garcia (Pos. 6) are all up for election. As of May 17, no candidates had yet filed to run for these positions.

On the King County Council, incumbent Kathy Lambert is looking to defend her seat from two challengers — Sarah Perry and Joe Cohen.