Following the police-involved death of George Floyd over the summer of 2020, a number of U.S. cities devolved into quasi-anarchy, with violent and destructive demonstrators roaming the streets and activists setting up autonomous encampments within city limits.
Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) of Seattle, Washington presided over the turmoil that engulfed her city over the summer. According to Fox News, in a surprise video announcement to whatever supporters she has, Durkan announced that she would not be seeking re-election at the end of her current term.
Durkan was brutally criticized for her handling — or lack thereof — of events that took place in downtown Seattle that just a few years ago would have been the subject of a joke. Multiple activist groups set up autonomous zones — like “CHOP” and “CHAZ,” which caught the attention of the entire country.
At the time, Durkan seemingly wrote off the illegal encampments, even as they became more dangerous to be around — not to mention the filth and destruction that accompanied the camps. Durkan took the most heat at the time for referring to the situation as Seattle’s “summer of love,” though she would later walk back the statement.
Durkan made clear in her video message that the reason she’s not seeking a second term is because of the COVID-19 crisis and nothing else. She explained that she felt that campaigning in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t the right thing to do.
“We know stopping the spread of the virus, projecting jobs and focusing on the economic recovery … is going to take everything we’ve got. As mayor approaching the last year of my term, that meant a choice – I could spend the next year campaigning to keep this job or focus all my energy on doing the job,” Durkan said.
According to King 5, Durkan also touted what she believes are many accomplishments in her time as Seattle’s mayor, including setting up free college tuition plans and creating millions of dollars worth of affordable housing.
Durkan reported that she received death threats and vandalism at her home, but denied that those issues factored into her decision to not make a run for a second term.
With everything that’s happened in the once-great city of Seattle, hopefully, a new mayor will bring the leadership and stability back to a city that so desperately needs it.