Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and the Seattle City Council have announced their appointments of community members to serve on the Seattle Redistricting Commission, the body responsible for overseeing the development of new City Council district lines in response to the completed 2020 Census.
“Seattle remains one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, and the impact of COVID-19 has underscored the need for our districting process to ensure critically-needed resources are allocated equitably across our City. I am pleased to appoint two absolute pillars of the community to serve on the Seattle Redistricting Commission, Neelima Shah and Former Mayor Greg Nickels. Neelima is a trusted community leader who works tirelessly to make Seattle a thriving and equitable city. As a former mayor, Greg understands the unique challenges and opportunities facing Seattle communities and their diverse needs. I am confident that both Neelima and Greg will work closely with the other commission members to help us advance our shared goals of justice and equity.”
— Mayor Jenny A. Durkan
“Fair and accurate representation is the cornerstone of our democracy. When elected officials choose their voters – instead of voters choosing their representatives – we cease to be a society that is responsive to the needs of its people. I’m proud of the equitable, transparent and community-based redistricting process that Seattle is undertaking. It will be the first time City Council districts are redrawn in our city’s history. The Council was thrilled to appoint EJ Juárez and Rory O’Sullivan to the Seattle Redistricting Commission on June 14. I am confident that these community leaders will successfully carry out a robust community engagement process that ensures the new City Council districts advance the goal of fair and equitable representation for all of Seattle’s residents.”
— Seattle City Council President M. Lorena González
Mayor Durkan has appointed the following two leaders to serve on the Redistricting Commission:
Neelima Shah is an experienced leader and philanthropy professional with twenty years of experience. Currently, she is a Senior Program Officer at the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation. In this role, she is responsible for grantmaking in the Pacific Northwest and working with partners to achieve the foundation’s goal of creating cities that are equitable, climate resilient, and healthy places to live. Neelima is a 2005 American German Marshall Fund Fellow and a 2004 World Affairs Council Fellow. She earned her Master of Public Administration at the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs and her BA in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. She currently serves on the boards of The Funders’ Network and The Seattle Parks Foundation.
Former Mayor Greg Nickels
Greg Nickels has served as the 51st Seattle Mayor, 67th US Conference of Mayors President, King County Councilman, Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly and Harvard Fellow. He chaired the King County Board of Health for six years. In 2005 he launched the “US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement,” a grassroots effort of over 1,000 mayors acting at the local level. He is the recipient of numerous National and local awards. Nickels is the oldest of six siblings. Born in Chicago, Greg has called Seattle home since 1961. A graduate of Seattle Prep, he began his public service career at age 19 with the City of Seattle while attending the University of Washington.
The Seattle City Council appointed the following two leaders to serve on the Redistricting Commission with a vote held on June 14, 2021:
Rory O’Sullivan currently serves as an Administrative Law Judge with the Office of Administrative Hearings. He grew up in the Seattle area and attended the University of Washington where he studied Economics and International Studies. Rory received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Since law school, he has clerked for Judge Edward Shea in the Eastern District of Washington, taught as an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University School of Law and the University of Washington School of Law, and dedicated his practice to public interest and poverty law, working for organizations such as Northwest Justice Project and the King County Bar Association. Rory has focused his advocacy and activism on improving our democracy and elections. In 2003, he helped to found Washington Public Campaigns, an organization that later changed its name to Fix Democracy First. He maintained his focus on electoral reform and, in 2015, was one of the authors of the initiative that created Seattle’s innovative democracy voucher program.
Eliseo (EJ) Juarez
Eliseo Juarez is most recently the Public Policy Manager for the Group Health Foundation. He managed the Foundation’s Public Affairs team of policy and government relations professionals and shaped the organization’s political activities, protocol, and endorsements. He also served as the Community Partnerships and Government Relations Manager for the Seattle Public Library. Previously, EJ served as the Executive Director at Progressive Majority/ColorPAC (now Sage Leaders), an organization dedicated to recruiting, training, and electing people to office. He also served as Community Relations & Development Manager for the state’s largest anti-poverty organization, Poverty Action, at Solid Ground. He is a graduate of Saint Martin’s University and earned a Master’s degree from the University of Washington-Bothell. He serves as First Vice Chair of the King County Citizen’s Election Oversight Committee and on the boards of the SEIU 775 Benefits Group and Win|Win Network.
The full Redistricting Commission will be comprised of five members. The fifth member will be appointed by the initial four members of the Commission and approved via a majority vote of the Commissioners. Redistricting Commissioners shall serve, subject to other limitations under the Charter of the City of Seattle and applicable state law, until the districts proposal they have approved is submitted to the State of Washington.
The Commission shall appoint a Districting Master to draw a districting plan for the City, develop a draft districts proposal based on that plan, facilitate a process of public comment on that proposal, and ultimately vote upon approval of that proposal for transmission to the State of Washington. The Redistricting Commission may employ experts, consultants, and attorneys as necessary to accomplish its goals and will submit financial statements and an official record of all relevant information considered to the City Clerk.