Seattle Mayor Murray has announced his impending resignation effective 5 p.m. Wednesday, September 13.
“I am announcing my resignation as mayor, effective at 5 p.m. tomorrow,” he said in a statement released to The Seattle Lesbian.
“While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our City government to conduct the public’s business,” he said.
“I’m proud of all that I have accomplished over my 19 years in the Legislature, where I was able to pass what were at the time the largest transportation packages in state history, a landmark gay civil rights bill and a historic marriage equality bill. And I am proud of what we have accomplished together at the City during my time as mayor, passing a nation-leading $15 minimum wage, and major progressive housing affordability and police accountability legislation, as well as negotiating an agreement to build a world-class arena that I believe in time will bring the NHL and NBA to Seattle.”
Still, the noted successes came with a price.
“But it has also become clear to me that in light of the latest news reports it is best for the city if I step aside.”
Murray was referring to multiple sexual abuse and assault allegations, the latest by his cousin on September 12, the same day he announced his resignation.
“To the people of this special city and to my dedicated staff, I am sorry for this painful situation,” he said.
“In the interest of an orderly transition of power, Council President Bruce Harrell will become Mayor upon my resignation, and will decide within the following five days whether he will fill out the remainder of my term. During this time Director of Operations Fred Podesta has been tasked with leading the transition.”
Murray held a press conference on May 9, 2017 where he said he would not seek re-election. The out gay mayor said his intention then was to finish out the remainder of his term, which concludes at the end of 2017.
“It tears me to pieces to step away,” Murray said as he addressed the media at Alki Beach Bathhouse in West Seattle.
“I’m thankful for all we’ve achieved together. But we must look to the future and what’s best for the city we love,” Murray said.
His announcement in May followed a handful of sexual assault allegations and a loss of support for his re-election campaign. Murray said the allegations “paint me in the worst possible historic portrait of a gay man.”
During his televised announcement, Murray was surrounded by political allies, family members – including partner of 26 years Michael Shiosaki (the two were legally married in 2013) – and members of the LGBT community.
Murray previously denied the sexual assault allegations, saying ““Let me be clear: These allegations dating back to more than a period of 30 years are simply not true,” he said. “I will not back down now. I will continue to be mayor of this city. I will continue to run for re-election, and I plan to lead this city as we work our way through the wind and rain storm of this weekend as well as the many challenges we face going forward.”
Elected as Seattle’s 53rd mayor, Murray kicked off his term by bringing business, workers and advocates together to implement the nation’s first $15 minimum wage in a major city. Murray put the City on course to historic police accountability reform, hiring Chief Kathleen O’Toole and working with DOJ and the federal court to address critical issues in the Consent Decree. And after the election of Donald Trump, Murray made Seattle the center of the resistance, declaring Seattle would remain an inclusive, welcoming, Constitutional City, where all residents would have access to city services.
Murray committed more than two decades of public service to Seattle’s LBGT community, where he spearheaded the LGBT civil rights bill and marriage equality as a state legislator.
Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan is currently the frontrunner to take the City’s mayoral role in 2018.