Renton Councilmember Carol Ann Witschi has announced she will not be running for reelection.
This now leaves two council seats open in this year’s election without an incumbent, positions No. 3 and No. 7. Positions No. 4 and No. 5 are also up, with current councilmembers Ed Prince and Ryan McIrvin running for reelection.
Witschi said that her decision was entirely personal: she has three jobs working at Renton High School as a teacher, director of Drama Kids International for south and east King County, and being a councilmember.
When she began the position on council four years ago, she was only working as a sales consultant and was more flexible for ribbon cuttings and other committee meetings. Now she finds much of her day taken up by teaching, Witschi said.
In a Facebook post, Witschi announced her decision and discussed the many successes of council while she has served.
Among those included she mentioned include parks and trails developments, shopping cart legislation, a new fire station, AAA bond rating, new sidewalks, the “coolest rooftop dragon in the world” and three Governor’s Smart Communities awards.
In an interview with the Reporter, Witschi said two issues that she’s especially proud of are the Henry Moses Aquatic Center Schedule change, where she advocated for a schedule to better accommodate working families, and the council’s decision to expand the scope of the Income Source Discrimination law.
She also said she’s proud of the new businesses, walkable areas and changes being seen in downtown. In her post, she mentioned she was in awe of the work being done with the Downtown Core plan.
In her time with council, she said she’s learned how important discussions at the committee meetings are, and the trust councilmembers in Renton have in each other.
“We’ve got one of the few councils in King County that genuinely gets along pretty well and respects one another,” Witschi said.
Witschi has served one term on council; she ran in 2015 for former councilmember Marcie Palmer’s position, who had decided not to run for reelection.
Witschi said she made her announcement now to give enough time for candidates to file now that there is two open seats. She said she suspects there will now be a lot of great candidates and fresh blood coming into the position, and she encourages women and people of color to apply.
Valerie O’Halloran, who initially ran for council president Don Persson’s open seat, will now be running for Witschi’s open position. O’Halloran announced this in a press release April 17, and has switched positions on the Public Disclosure Commission website.
Witschi remains listed on the commission’s website. Candidates have until May 17 to file.
“Thank you for letting me serve on Council. I am forever changed,” Witschi said in her Facebook post.
The Renton Reporter previously covered Witschi’s work with Drama Kids International, which you can find here.