Kelli Curtis (Curtis Campaign photo)

We enthusiastically endorse the re-election of Kirkland City Councilmember Kelli Curtis. Curtis has two opponents, so her race for Council Position 2 will be on the August 1 primary ballot. 

We first connected with Curtis through our public comments in favor of sunsetting the exclusionary Houghton Community Council at a November 2021 Kirkland City Council meeting. After speaking, we emailed the council members reiterating our points in favor of ending Community Municipal Corporations (CMCs) in Washington State. 

Curtis replied immediately. This responsiveness is a trait she exhibits in all her work. 

Curtis was a key, vocal champion for ending CMCs in Washington. She spoke eloquently in public meetings and in testimony before the state legislature on the need to end the inequitable land-use veto power of the CMCs. 

As a Houghton resident, Curtis’ stance against this special privilege for her own neighborhood required particular fortitude. She encountered angry neighbors at her mailbox and elsewhere. Yet she didn’t waiver in her resolve for fairness. 

As a former member of Kirkland’s Housing Strategy Advisory Committee, which wrote Kirkland’s Five-Year Housing Plan, she championed Kirkland’s trailblazing 2020 Missing Middle Housing ordinance. This ordinance essentially allows accessory dwelling units, duplexes, triplexes, and cottage developments in formerly single-family-only zoned areas. She continues to work on housing policy through her legislative and regional appointments. 

In 2023, she continued to tackle our region’s growing housing shortage. In her role as the Sound Cities Association Caucus Chair on the King County Growth Management Planning Council, Curtis successfully built unanimous support in favor of adopting housing needs percentages at lower-income levels (0-60% area median income). Her actions supported the implementation of HB 1220. This bill was a key focus for Futurewise and other housing advocates and amended the Growth Management Act to instruct local governments to “plan and accommodate” housing that is affordable for all income levels. 

Kirkland Urban E & F with Phase 2 under construction
Kirkland Urban A at 425 Urban Plaza is an example of Kirkland’s recent apartment boom. (Shaun Kuo)

Curtis is passionate about social justice on multiple fronts, championing Kirkland’s Permanent Supportive Housing partnership with King County (despite vociferous opposition), the North King County Crisis Response Center mental health professional community responders, tenant protections, reproductive healthcare, expanded parks and recreational facilities for the community, and LGBTQ+ rights. She introduced the legislative motion to add a beautiful new Pride Crosswalk in Kirkland’s Marina Park, which was installed and celebrated this June.

Curtis has also been a leading voice for the City’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives, which have included hiring a DEIB manager, developing a Five-year DEIB roadmap, and launching The Kirkland Initiative, which is Kirkland’s civic leadership educational program. She also was key in creating Kirkland’s Native History document and land acknowledgement.

In 2022, drawing on her environmental-horticultural background, Curtis was instrumental in crafting and passing Kirkland’s Tree Code Amendments, working with stakeholders to balance the needs for housing density, tree retention, biodiversity, and canopy expansion. 

Curtis has taken on numerous leadership roles in both City and regional committees. On the Kirkland City Council, she chairs both the Legislative Work Group and the Parks Funding Exploratory Committee. Regionally, she serves on the King County Growth Management Planning Council (caucus chair), the King Conservation District’s Advisory Committee, and others. She has brought a smart, progressive lens to these roles. 

Curtis seems to be at nearly every community event and represents Kirkland at a myriad of official City occasions. She is accessible, not only at these events, but one-on-one, whether through email or in-person. She has been consistently responsive and open to listening to all sides of an issue. 

Praising Curtis for her involvement in so many committees and activities, Kirkland Councilmember Neal Black characterized her “as perhaps the hardest working member of the Kirkland City Council.” 

Our support of Curtis does not mean we support each individual vote. One that deeply disappointed us was her vote to not cancel Kirkland’s School Resource Officer (SRO) contract with the Lake Washington School district. We, along with a diverse group of other community members, have concerns about the disproportionately higher rates of policing of students of color. That said, we believe that Curtis considers all the information presented to her and thinks through her decisions carefully – even when we disagree.

We’d be remiss not to mention the two opposition candidates, Catie Malik and Zoltan Szilagyi. Malik’s main plank on her website is to raise fears about Permanent Supportive Housing at the former La Quinta Inn, making misleading statements, including falsely labeling it as a “homeless shelter.” She also fails to list any relevant experience or past community service. The second opponent, Zoltan Szilagyi, has no website nor lists any contact information, other than street address, in his King County elections filing.

Crafting policy to meet diverse public needs takes dedication, knowledge, and perseverance. Curtis has consistently demonstrated these traits.

We wholeheartedly support the re-election of Kelli Curtis to the Kirkland City Council. She is the seasoned, hard-working, and forward-thinking leader we need to guide our city through these challenging and rapidly changing times.

Article Author
Beverly Marcus (Guest Contributor)

Beverly Marcus moved from Seattle to downtown Kirkland about five years ago. She co-led the grassroots effort that helped to successfully sunset the inequitable Houghton and East Bellevue community councils via state legislation in 2022. She is a fan of walkable neighborhoods with close access to day-to-day necessities, more housing choices throughout the city, mixed-use development, and a wider variety of transit options.

Article Author
Jennie Jaeger (Guest Contributor)

Jennie Jaeger is a Kirkland resident. A few of the hats she has worn include: writer, editor, project manager, amateur naturalist, and parent of two teens. She’s passionate about removing barriers to addressing the housing crisis; in 2022, she co-led grassroots community support for successful state legislation to end "Community Municipal Corporations" (the Houghton and East Bellevue community councils).