The GSBA Blog

Member Candidate Profile: Joe McDermott

by Joe McDermott, King County Councilmember, Dist 8
| Oct 31, 2019
GSBA has invited all of its members who are running for office to provide a statement to share with the rest of the membership. We are posting the statements as we receive them. GSBA does not endorse candidates, but we are happy to let those candidates who are part of our organization introduce themselves to the rest of our membership. Don't forget to vote and mail in your ballots before Tuesday, November 5!

Dear fellow GSBA members,

I am so proud to be a member of this community. When I came out at the age of 30 in 1997, it was a real concern that it would be an obstacle to my passion to serve in public office. I was fortunate to have the unconditional love of my parents and family and friends -- and when I ran for the State Legislature, I was able to be an advocate for our community at a time when we had very few of our own in elected office. In the State Legislature I made it a priority to advocate for the whole LGBTQ+ community. I led on adding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to our anti-discrimination laws, introduced and paased legislation to include transgender people in our hate crimes statute, set the stage for marriage equality, and stood next to the Governor when she signed marriage equality into law.

In 2010 I was elected the first openly gay member of the King County Council, and it has been my immense honor to work on your behalf every day! Here are some of the things I’ve done during the past few years:

  • I secured $15 million for expanding homeless shelters and passed legislation dedicating $660 million in lodging taxes to build affordable housing.
  • I authored and passed the Gun Safety Action Plan, which requires gun owners to securely store firearms and ammunition, and requires the Sheriff’s Office to destroy forfeited weapons. The Plan aims to reduce suicides, accidental deaths, and the prevalence of guns in our communities.
  • I fought back against Trump’s anti-immigrant policies by enacting the Immigrant & Refugee Fund. The Fund has provided hundreds of immigrants with legal advice and representation to protect families from being separated by deportation.
  • I led the effort to deliver more Rapid Ride buses to Delridge and Burien, and am pushing Metro and Sound Transit to prioritize equitable fares and fare enforcement, and, as a Sound Transit Board Member, am fighting for a Light Rail tunnel into West Seattle.

I’d like to continue this work. For my re-election campaign I’m proud to have the endorsements of The Stranger and The Seattle Times, as well as labor unions and progressive organizations across our region, including: King County Democrats, MLK Labor Council, Washington Conservation Voters, and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

Most importantly, I’d like to have your endorsement. Please feel free to reach out to me any time! My email is

With PRIDE, 


Joe McDermott

King County Councilmember, District 8