After previously alluding to the end of her run on the Seattle City Council, President Debora Juarez confirmed Monday that she will not seek reelection when her term expires at the end of the year.

After eight years in office, Juarez, a moderate, is joining a majority of council incumbents facing reelection who have decided to leave the council rather than seek new terms in November’s district council election.

“Our Uncle, Billy Frank Jr., taught us that you should ‘lead to leave.’ I’ve added my own sentiment: ‘leave a legacy,’” Juarez said in a statement on Monday.  

“I believe it’s time to leave [the] Seattle City Council, and I am proud of our legacy. It has been an honor to serve the city I love, with good people who care as deeply about it as I do,” she added.

Juarez represents District 5, including much of North Seattle, and as a member of the Blackfeet Nation is the first Indigenous woman elected to the council, and to hold the position of council president.

In her statement, Juarez — who did not respond to requests for comment on Monday — offered little explanation for why she would leave her seat.


“My decision to not seek re-election this year creates an opportunity for the next generation of leadership to bring fresh, new ideas and energy to the City Council,” Juarez said. “It has been my honor to serve D5 as a voice for economic development and jobs — in the district, citywide, and for our region as a whole.”

In her time on council, Juarez championed Indigenous issues, leading the formation of the city’s first Indigenous Advisory Council, and the creation of the first Native American data specialist position within the Seattle Police Department to review missing and murdered Indigenous persons cases.

Mayor Bruce Harrell called Juarez a “champion for tribal rights and indigenous voices,” in a tweet praising his former council colleague.

Juarez “is a dedicated public servant that leads with values of respect, humility, friendship, and love for her community,” Harrell said. “Her voice and vision have made our city stronger, and I am grateful for her service.”

Juarez also supported projects like Climate Pledge Arena, the West Seattle Ballard Link Light Rail and a new Seattle Storm practice facility.

On issues like public safety, she has often been among the more moderate members of the council. She was one of two council members to consistently oppose a quickly abandoned plan to defund SPD by 50% following police brutality protests in 2020.


Before being elected to the council in 2015 and reelected in 2019, Juarez worked as an attorney for Evergreen Legal Services’ Native American Project, and served as a King County Superior Court and Seattle Municipal Court pro-tem judge. In 1996, she was appointed executive director of the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs.

Local Politics | Seattle City Council 2023

All seven district council positions are on the ballot in November. Juarez is one of four incumbents — including Lisa Herbold (District 1), Kshama Sawant (District 3), and Alex Pedersen (District 4) — to announce they will not seek reelection, some citing the increasingly harsh political climate in Seattle. 

In a recent interview, Juarez acknowledged the changing climate but said it was not the primary factor in her decision of whether to run.

Only two council members — District 2’s Tammy Morales and District 7’s Andrew Lewis — have announced their intent to seek reelection. District 6 Councilmember Dan Strauss is the only one who has not announced his plans. 

Citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda announced last week that she will seek election to the Metropolitan King County Council in November, though her City Council term does not expire until 2025.