Seattle - Government and Politics

Government and Politics

Seattle is a charter city, with a Mayor–Council form of government. Since 1911, Seattle's nine city councillors have been elected at large, rather than by geographic subdivisions. The only other elected offices are the city attorney and Municipal Court judges. All city offices are technically non-partisan. Like most parts of the United States, government and laws are also run by a series of ballot initiatives (whereby citizens can pass or reject laws), referenda (whereby citizens can approve or reject legislation already passed), and propositions (where specific government agencies can propose new laws/tax increases directly to the people)

Seattle's political culture is strongly liberal and progressive, although there is a small libertarian movement within the metropolitan area. It is one of the most liberal cities in the United States, with approximately 80% voting for the Democratic Party; only two precincts in Seattle—one in the Broadmoor community, and one encompassing neighboring Madison Park—had a majority of votes for Republican George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election. In addition, all precincts in Seattle voted for Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, including the two precincts which had previously voted Republican in 2004. In partisan elections for the Washington State Legislature and United States Congress, nearly all elections are won by Democrats.

Seattle is one of the most politically progressive cities in North America, with a majority of voters supporting Democratic politicians; support for liberal issues such as same-sex marriage, reproductive rights, and gun control is largely taken for granted in local politics. Like much of the Pacific Northwest (which has the lowest rate of church attendance in the United States and consistently reports the highest percentage of atheism), church attendance, religious belief, and political influence of religious leaders are much lower than in other parts of America. Seattle also has a thriving alternative press, with the Web-based daily Seattle Post-Intelligencer, several other online dailies (including Publicola and Crosscut), The Stranger (an alternative, left-leaning weekly), and a number of issue-focused publications, including the nation's two largest online environmental magazines, Worldchanging and Grist.org. In July 2012 Seattle became the largest city in Washington State to ban plastic shopping bags.

Federally, Seattle is part of Washington's 7th congressional district, represented by Democrat Jim McDermott, elected in 1988 and one of Congress's most liberal members.

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