Politics & Government

Neighborhood activist Justin Leighton announces for Tacoma council

This year’s ballot counting may not be in the books yet, but Election 2015 is getting underway.

Justin Leighton appears to be the first Pierce County candidate to announce. He said Monday that he’ll seek to succeed Lauren Walker in the District 3 seat on the Tacoma City Council when Walker is term-limited out of office next year.

Leighton, a Hilltop resident since 2008 and currently government relations officer for Pierce Transit, has been involved with the Central Neighborhood Council, this year’s Charter Review Committee and several other local government and community groups. He helped lead the (ultimately unsuccessful) fight against Walmart when a developer announced plans in 2011 to build the store at the former Elks Lodge property.

In a statement announcing his candidacy, Leighton said he wants to bring his grassroots perspective to the council.

“I am running for City Council because we need more leaders in City Hall who understand what is happening at a street-by-street basis and yet still have the regional relationships and vision to keep Tacoma moving forward,” he said. “I want to see our business districts thrive, but do so in a way that reflects the neighborhoods around them, Tacoma should lead the south sound in a financially and environmentally sustainable way all while growing a strong economy with good family wage jobs.”

From his press release:

With today’s announcement, Leighton also announced the early endorsements of Tacoma City Councilmember Ryan Mello, Pierce County Councilmember Rick Talbert, State Representative Jake Fey, Tacoma School Board member Scott Heinze, former Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma, Central Neighborhood Council Treasurer Dawn Rodin, Emergency Food Network Executive Director Helen McGovern, Owner of Pacific Grill and Smoke and Cedar Restaurants Gordon Naccarato, local entrepreneur Marguerite Giguere, downtown business leader Julie Swenson, environmental leaders Andrew Austin and Michael Garrity, and community leaders T’wina Fields Franklin, Korbett Mosesly, Jessica Gavre, Michelle and Aaron Wilson, among many others.

Born and raised in the area, Leighton is currently a graduate student at Evergreen State College where he is set to graduate in June with a Masters in Public Administration. He also has a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture with a Teacher Certification from Washington State University.