Mayor Denis Law announced he would not run for reelection Dec. 28, 2018 on Facebook.
For the past six months, Law said, he’s been considering the 2019 election. He said it seemed like now was the time to start looking at other things, in his personal life. But Law will spend his last year pushing issues close to him.
He wanted to announce early enough for possible candidates to give it some serious thought. He also said some have expressed interest to him “only if he wasn’t going to run.” Law said he wants Renton to have a mayor-elect that people are confident in.
Law plans to share with viable candidates what he knows about city hall. But it’s less likely that he might endorse somebody, he said.
“While I think (a mayor’s) opinion on who would be good is valid,” Law said. “People might think: ‘Why should you be picking?’”
He is now in his third term. He first ran against incumbent Kathy Keolker in 2007. He then ran unopposed in his last two terms. Before his time as mayor, he served as a city councilmember.
Prior to Law’s time in politics, he was a publisher for a several print publications, including the Renton Reporter. He also was president of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. Law said running his own business helped him manage others and maintain a budget.
City government is not the same as a business — it has different checks and balances, public service responsibilities. Law said he still finds fundamental similarities. This includes customer service, which Law prides himself in for the more than 700 employees of the city.
The mayor said his fundamental priority was, and continues to be, public safety. He said he will continue to push for different ways to solve crimes, especially property crimes that set the tone for residents’ well-being. He also champions the Renton Police Department.
“I want everybody to feel like they have access to the police, that they’re friends and they help them. (Police) are not there to check on immigration status and things of that nature, they’re truly there to make (people’s) lives better,” Law said.
Law also highlights the private investment in the area, parks and trails, diversity and inclusion initiatives, inclement weather road crews and public works as things he’s been proud of as mayor.
He said some of his biggest challenges were relying on tax revenue, handling threats to public safety and domestic violence, recruitment and public criticism. Law entered the position as the recession hit. In his Facebook post announcing he wouldn’t run, he said dreams of pet projects and big checkbooks dropped like the stock market.
Law said there’s a few things he plans to push for in his final year: taking care of seniors, public safety, code enforcement and the Family First Community Center.
The center will be able to change the lives of a lot of kids in the Benson area, he said. Benson has been rated as a low opportunity index area by Puget Sound Regional Council.
The mayor said it’s important to help those seniors susceptible to elder abuse, living on fixed incomes and general quality of life issues as a city.
Law said he hopes Renton’s future is a safe, clean city and people who care for each other. He also described it as “more of the same.”
Law plans to retire to Anacortes with his wife for the scenery, arts scene, and the fact that it’s only an hour and a half from Renton, which he said will always be a part of his life.
Those interested in running for mayor will need to file online or in-person to King County Elections office between May 13 to May 17, 2019.