OLYMPIA - City Councilman Steve Langer announced Tuesday that he will run for the council seat Craig Ottavelli is vacating, the latest in a string of Olympia political announcements over the past week.
Ottavelli announced Monday that he won’t run for another four-year term this fall, saying he needed to focus on his growing family. And Mayor Doug Mah announced Jan. 3 that he wouldn’t run again for mayor.
Langer, who is serving a partial term, said he wants to be elected to a four-year term.
“That’s the big reason, and then, Craig is leaving, so I don’t have to challenge a sitting City Council person,” he said.
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Langer was appointed in May to take the place of Joe Hyer, who resigned after being charged with dealing marijuana. Langer would have had to face election this fall anyway if he wanted to retain his seat. Had he won that election, he would have had little more than two years remaining in the term.
Langer has been a clinical psychologist in Olympia and a South Sound resident since 1982. He ran two unsuccessful campaigns to join the Thurston County commission as a Democrat in 1996 and 2000. He served on county committees concerned with water-quality issues in Henderson Inlet, then Henderson/Nisqually, and had a long stint on the Thurston County Boundary Review Board.
Langer said he looks forward to working on the issues of downtown and homelessness, and using his knowledge on water-quality matters.
Langer said he decided to seek the seat after Ottavelli called him Monday to tell him he wasn’t running.
Langer said he wasn’t interested in running for mayor because he needs more experience.
Ottavelli said he probably won’t endorse a successor because it might negatively affect his relationships with current council members. He said he decided over the weekend not to run again, saying his wife is expecting their second child in February, and his business is demanding more of his time.
“The capacity to do a good job serving and, as you know, running a campaign takes a great deal of time,” he said.
But this is only a break, he said. He hopes to return to politics.
“I have loved my time of service, and I’m looking forward to next year as well,” he said. “I can’t imagine not serving in this capacity as long as the community will allow me to do so.”
Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 firstname.lastname@example.org