Politics
People cheer as attorney James Bible, center, speaks at a memorial outside where a pregnant mother was shot and killed Sunday by police on June 20, 2017 in Seattle.
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People cheer as attorney James Bible, center, speaks at a memorial outside where a pregnant mother was shot and killed Sunday by police on June 20, 2017 in Seattle.
Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Civil rights attorney James Bible to seek Bellevue Council seat

Friday was the filing deadline for candidates running for office in Washington State. One surprise was the decision by civil rights attorney James Bible to seek a seat on the Bellevue City Council.

Bible is running against incumbent Jennifer Robertson, an attorney who has served three terms on the council, for Position 7.

Bible is the former president of the King County NAACP. He is now in private practice, representing clients in civil and criminal cases.

Bible moved to Bellevue as a teenager in the 1980s. He said he wants to help more people be included in decision-making there.

“I was always an apartment-dweller in Bellevue," he said. "I recognize that many are included in decision-making in Bellevue, and some have completely been left out."

Bible said he wants to focus on affordable housing, higher wages for service workers, and issues like education that affect his 6-year-old son.

“He goes to public school in Bellevue," Bible said. "I look at him and think about all that Bellevue can be, and how I want to be a part of that.”

“I’ve always tried to find a way to balance the civil and human rights work I do under the law with political opportunities or chances to serve the community through politics," he said, adding that the decision to seek a seat on the Bellevue City Council was relatively recent.

“In talking to people that I’m very close to, and that care very deeply about these sorts of issues, we made the decision that it made sense for me to move forward," he said.

Jennifer Robertson responded by email, saying, "While Bellevue has a very diverse population, we very much share the same values."

She pushed back against the idea that anyone is currently excluded from city decisions.

"I work hard to ensure we include all of Bellevue’s residents in our city government so we can be sure everyone is able to provide feedback on the solutions we use to maintain our city as one of the best in America," she said.

Robertson said she has worked to extend the city's outreach in languages other than English, and to make sure boards and commissions "are representative of our community." She said she's running again to make sure the city continues to prioritize its neighborhoods and care for its diverse population "during this period of unprecedented economic growth."

Robertson's campaign website notes that as a council member she helped negotiate the Eastlink light rail route and budget. She was also elected by her council colleagues to serve as deputy mayor from 2012 to 2014. Robertson has served as a volunteer in Bellevue schools and a board member of her PTSA.