Metropolitan King County Council
King County, Washington
Coat of arms or logo
Vice Chair
Vice Chair
Political groups
Officially nonpartisan
Democratic Party (7)
Republican Party (2)
List of Committees
    • Budget and Fiscal Management
    • Committee of the Whole
    • Government Accountability and Oversight
    • Employment and Administration
    • Health, Housing and Human Services
    • Law and Justice
    • Transportation, Economy and Environment
    • Regional Policy
    • Regional Transit
    • Regional Water Quality
Length of term
4 years
Last election
November 2, 2021
Meeting place
1200 King County Courthouse
516 Third Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98104
King County Council

The Metropolitan King County Council, the legislative body of King County, Washington, consists of nine members elected by district. The Council adopts laws, sets policy, and holds final approval over the budget. Its current name and structure is the result of a merger of King County and the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle, better known as Metro, which was a federated county-city structure responsible for water quality and public transportation.


As a result of a County Charter amendment passed by voters in the November 2008 elections, all elective offices of King County are officially nonpartisan; that being said, all current council members have made their party affiliations a matter of public record.[1]

Claudia Balducci was elected as the Council Chair in the first meeting of 2020 and will serve the one-year term alongside Vice Chairs Reagan Dunn and Joe McDermott.[7]


The County Council meets weekly at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. Meetings are held in the County Council chambers, Room 1001, on the tenth floor of the King County Courthouse located at 516 Third Avenue between James and Jefferson in downtown Seattle.


Nine Councilmembers are elected by district to four-year terms. Councilmembers in even numbered districts are up for election in 2023, while Councilmembers in odd districts are up for election in 2025. Prior to 2009, councilmembers were elected on a partisan basis, and had to declare their political party unless they filed as an Independent. An independent candidate had to receive at least 20 percent of the vote in the primary election to qualify for the general election ballot. This changed upon the passage of Charter Amendment 8 by voters in 2008, which made all elections for county offices nonpartisan.

The Council uses its committee structure to consider the legislation before it. Ordinances and motions (policy statements) are assigned to a King County Council committee for consideration, and then are recommended to the full Council for action. Each year, the Council reorganizes and elects a Chair and Vice Chair. In addition, the Council decides yearly on its committee structure and makeup. Currently there are nine standing policy committees and three regional committees. Members of the Seattle City Council and representatives from suburban cities and local sewer districts are also members of the regional committees. In addition, all nine members of the Council meet as a Committee of the Whole to discuss broad-reaching legislation and issues.

The King County Executive is not a member of the Council, and is a separately elected official. The Executive submits legislation to the Council for consideration. Each year in October, the Executive submits a proposed budget to the County Council for the operation of County government for the coming year. The Executive has veto power over ordinances passed by the Council.


In the 2004 general election voters approved a charter amendment to reduce the size of the council from thirteen to nine, which went into effect January 1, 2006. With four fewer districts, the number of constituents per district rose from 138,000 residents to about 193,000.

Past Councilmembers

District Councilmember Political party[a] Term start Term end
1 Tracy Owen Republican 1969 1981
2 Bob Dunn Republican 1969 1979
3 Bill Reams Republican 1969 1989
4 Bernice Stern Democratic 1969 1980
5 John O'Brien Republican 1969 1973
6 Tom Forsythe Republican 1969 1975
7 Ed Munro Democratic 1969 1973
8 Ed Heavey Democratic 1969 1975
9 Dave Mooney Democratic 1969 1976
5 Ruby Chow Democratic 1974 1985
7 Paul Barden Republican 1974 1993
6 Mike Lowry Democratic 1976 1979
8 Bob Greive Democratic 1976 1987
9 Bob Gaines Democratic 1977 1977
6 Pat Thorpe Democratic 1979 1979
2 Scott Blair Republican 1980 1983
4 Lois North Republican 1980 1992
6 Bruce Laing Republican 1980 1996
1 Audrey Gruger Democratic 1982 1993
2 Cynthia Sullivan Democratic 1984 2003
5 Ron Sims Democratic 1986 1997
8 Greg Nickels Democratic 1988 2001
3 Brian Derdowski Republican 1990 1999
9 Kent Pullen Republican 1990 2003
4 Larry Phillips Democratic 1992 2015
1 Maggie Fimia Democratic 1994 2001
3 Louise Miller Republican 1994 2001
7 Pete von Reichbauer Republican 1994
10 Larry Gossett Democratic 1994 2019
11 Jane Hague Republican 1994 2015
13 Chris Vance Republican 1994 2001
6 Rob McKenna Republican 1996 2005
5 Dwight Pelz Democratic 1997 2005
12 David Irons Republican 2000 2005
13 Les Thomas Republican 2001 2001
1 Carolyn Edmonds Democratic 2002 2005
3 Kathy Lambert Republican 2002 2021
13 Julia Patterson Democratic 2002 2013
8 Dow Constantine Democratic 2002 2009
9 Steve Hammond Republican 2003 2005
2 Bob Ferguson Democratic 2004 2013
9 Reagan Dunn Republican 2005
8 Jan Drago Democratic 2010 2010
8 Joe McDermott Democratic 2011
1 Rod Dembowski Democratic 2013
5 Dave Upthegrove Democratic 2014
4 Jeanne Kohl-Welles Democratic 2016
6 Claudia Balducci Democratic 2016
2 Girmay Zahilay Democratic 2020
3 Sarah Perry Democratic 2022


  1. ^ Although county offices in King County were made officially nonpartisan in 2008, all councillors have made their party affiliations a matter of public record.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Board, SW Editorial (October 4, 2017). "Even in King County, the Republican Party Is One Big Gun Silencer". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  2. ^ "Sarah Perry wins King County Council seat, ending Kathy Lambert's two-decade hold". November 4, 2021.
  3. ^ "Von Reichbauer favors nonpartisan county elections". Seattle Times.((cite news)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Network, Action. "Joe McDermott, Democrat for Congress: Joe McDermott, Democrat for Congress". Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  5. ^ "Councilmember Reagan Dunn – Biography". Retrieved March 5, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Attorney general's race: Republican Dunn carves his own path". Seattle Times. October 11, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2021.((cite news)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "King County Council Elects Claudia Balducci to Lead as Chair in 2020" (Press release). King County Council. January 8, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  8. ^ "King County Councilmembers, 1969-present". Historylink. Retrieved October 2, 2021.