Arthur B. Langlie was one of Seattle’s most consequential political figures, serving as mayor from 1938 to 1941 before going on to serve three terms as Washington governor.
On Tuesday, his grandson, Arthur K. Langlie — who goes by Art — jumped into the race for Seattle mayor, touting himself as a City Hall outsider and centrist.
“I am a totally different choice here. I am not from the political class,” Langlie said in an interview.
A northwest Seattle resident, Langlie said he had not planned to follow his grandfather into politics, but he had spoken with many people fed up with the city’s problems, including the homelessness crisis.
“I don’t recognize the city I have loved my whole life right now,” Langlie said.
A business executive and first-time candidate, Langlie joins a field of 16 announced candidates, with five or so in the top tier of contenders based on early organizing, endorsements and fundraising.
Langlie, 54, points to his experience in business and involvement with charitable organizations, including the Salvation Army. He has worked for several major construction firms and is now executive vice president at Holmes Electric, a Seattle-area electrical construction contractor.
An online video announcing Langlie’s candidacy features several supporters expressing dissatisfaction with Seattle’s scenes of drug addiction and tent encampments in city parks.
Langlie said he’d move to address the crisis with urgency, upping the supply of shelter, but also concentrating on addiction and mental-health services. On his campaign website, he suggests creation of new “triage centers” to create “personalized health and recovery plans” for people experiencing homelessness.
Langlie also calls for setting “healthy boundaries” on acceptable behavior by those experiencing homelessness and drug addiction, criticizing “years of relaxed standards and exception-making by Seattle leaders.”
While his grandfather was a Republican, Langlie says he’s an independent who has supported candidates of all political stripes. The Seattle mayor’s position is officially nonpartisan.
State Public Disclosure Commission filings show he has donated to incumbent Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, as well as the late Republican state Sen. Andy Hill of Redmond, and GOP candidate Jinyoung Englund, who lost a 2017 race for Hill’s seat.
Langlie said he’ll also differentiate himself from the other mayoral candidates by declining to accept taxpayer funded democracy vouchers. That program gives Seattle residents up to four $25 vouchers they can sign over to candidate campaigns.
The program is supported by a property-tax levy that voters approved in 2015 and that is collecting $30 million over 10 years. “I can think of hundreds of other things we can do with those millions of dollars,” Langlie said.
Durkan announced in December that she will not seek reelection. The official 2021 candidate filing period is next week. Candidates must file by May 21 to be on the Aug. 3 primary ballot.