OLYMPIA – State Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, today announced he will not seek re-election to the senate in 2022.
Carlyle, 56, was first elected to the House of Representatives from the 36th Legislative District in 2008 in what was at the time the most expensive House campaign in state history. He succeeded 36-year veteran Rep. Helen Sommers. In the House, he served as chair of the Finance Committee and as a budget writer. He succeeded Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles in the Senate in 2015. Carlyle is proud to have been elected and re-elected six times.
Carlyle offered a statement regarding his decision:
“The ideal of servant leadership in our part-time citizen legislature—overseen by an engaged public and a rigorous and independent media—is core to the integrity of our constitutional republic. It’s a profound honor to serve as a state legislator. We are the quiet warriors in the trenches of representative democracy. I am proud that during my time leading the Senate’s climate strategy our state has passed the strongest, most comprehensive, and impactful suite of climate legislation in the United States. We are widely recognized as a premier leader in the world in tackling climate change as the most important issue of our era.
“Civic engagement is part of the soul of my DNA. I will remain passionately and enthusiastically engaged at every level in the quality of life of our community. It is now time for me to consider new opportunities for leadership in other public and private sector arenas. In gratitude for the overwhelming support I’ve enjoyed from voters, I want to repay that respect and voluntarily stand aside and allow sufficient time for everyone in our community to have a fair and equal chance to seek this important office.
“People elect us to listen, learn, do our homework and make good policy decisions and not tremble in the political winds. More than anything, I have tried to be a policy workhorse who can count votes and pass historically significant legislation. I’ve tried to live by the guiding principles of bipartisan relationships, negotiations, and compromise. I reject rigid ideology and hit-and-run politics in favor of the grace of dialogue.
“While raising our four wonderful children with my wife Dr. Wendy Carlyle and working full time in my professional career as a technology and sustainability entrepreneur, I have tried to enhance the dignity of public service. I sometimes failed and I apologize deeply for times that I missed the mark. I have worked to represent the gracious people of my community with a sense of courageous honesty, curiosity, passion, solid data, intellectual rigor and deep listening.
“My thanks begin with my fabulous wife Wendy and our children, Adi, Liat, Zev and Nava, for their unyielding support of my passion for public and community service. The voters have allowed me to fight for big ideas that make a difference in quality of life for 7.6 million Washingtonians. I am so grateful for their trust, partnership, respect and support. Thank you!”
Under Carlyle’s leadership, in partnership with Gov. Jay Inslee, state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, and others, Washington has passed the most sweeping climate agenda of any state in the country. Carlyle’s 2021 legislation is recognized as the most comprehensive carbon pricing legislation in the U.S. and sets the stage for Washington to join the Western Climate Initiative. His 2019 legislation is among the strongest clean electricity standards in the country.
During his career, Carlyle has actively supported a wide range of bills, amendments, budget language and other initiatives that include: New investments in K-12 public education; major funding for educational success of youth in foster care; renewable energy and utility system reliability, oil and coal train safety; Co-founding the University of Washington Center for Human Rights, UW, Western Washington University and support for higher education institutions across the state; 100% prochoice record for women’s reproductive freedom; 100% support of marriage equality and LGBTQ rights; 100% gun safety record; budget help to reopen Magnolia Elementary School and assist other Seattle Public Schools, major funding for the Pacific Science Center, Nordic Heritage Museum, KEXP, Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, Treehouse, Jewish Family Services, Seattle Opera, Seattle Aquarium and other art and cultural organizations; Rapid Ride D and other public transportation, improved safety on the Aurora 99 bridge; support for physicians, hospitals and the medical community; natural resources; water quality and stormwater protection under Aurora 99; public disclosure of tax preferences; support for the aviation sector; strong support for the technology sector; smarter use of technology in government.
For 12 years Carlyle has sponsored unsuccessful legislation to repeal the death penalty which passed the Senate multiple times with bipartisan support but failed to receive a vote in the House. “I stand with the arc of history, racial equity and the moral leaders of our global community in the call for formal abolition of the death penalty.”
Carlyle noted he remains proud to be one of the few legislators to vote against efforts to limit legislative records from public disclosure. Carlyle founded the Legislature’s Jewish Caucus.
During his service, Carlyle received the Achievement Award from the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, Washington Conservation Voters Legislator of the Year, Boys & Girls Club Alumni Hall of Fame, Special honors by Treehouse, Washington Coalition for Open Government, UW Center for Human Rights, Pacific Science Center; participation in the UN Climate Summit COP26 and the Aspen Institute of Germany.
“I am deeply grateful for the personal friendships and professional partnership of my colleagues in the Legislature. It has been a pleasure to work with such a dedicated team committed to the best for our state. At a time when the institution of democracy is struggling, Washington can be a light among the nations to show a pathway to a sustainable future with civility, respect and dignity as our guiding principle. Like everyone, I want to live an exceptional life with meaning and purpose. My service in the Legislature is a wonderful chapter in this blessed journey. Thank you!”