While mayors and governors around the country were giving inaugural speeches Monday, Olympia Mayor Doug Mah announced he will not seek re-election in the fall.
“I’m saddened to see him decide to go, and he leaves a long and rich history of service,” said Olympia City Councilman Craig Ottavelli. “I wish him the best.”
Mah is the most senior member of the Olympia City Council. He was elected as a councilmember in 2001 and re-elected in 2005. Mah won a bid for mayor in 2007.
“He’s represented the city very well,” said Connie Lorenz, executive director at Olympia Downtown Association. “He’s been a great mayor.”
Lorenz and several City Council members said Mah has brought a spirit of collaboration to the city.
“He has a really respectful style,” said Councilman Stephen Buxbaum. “He’s willing to work with anyone.”
Mah’s colleagues say one of his biggest accomplishments was brokering a deal that divided Public District Facilities money between the Regional Athletic Complex near Lacey and the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia.
“As mayor, he’ll have a legacy of building things, lots of construction and progress in town,” Councilwoman Rhenda Strub said.
In a news release, Mah, who is a policy manager with the state Department of Information Services, noted that he’s interested in keeping his “political and professional options open going into 2012.”
“I hope he has ambitions to do more,” Lorenz said. “I think he’d be an excellent legislator.”
But before handing over the title of mayor, Mah said he has plenty of work to finish up.
He said priorities during the year include expediting the removal or remediation of blighted buildings and areas in downtown Olympia, advocating for investments that support and sustain local businesses and the arts, renewing partnerships and activities that improve the health of Budd Inlet and Puget Sound, and serving as an advocate and cheerleader for the community and region.
“I look forward to completing my final year in office with lots of energy and enthusiasm but without the added complexity of running a re-election campaign,” Mah said.
Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 firstname.lastname@example.org