- Spring 2010
Greg Nickels served as the 51st Mayor of the City of Seattle from January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2009 and as a member of the King County Council for 14 years (1988 – 2001).As mayor, he focused on four priorities: getting Seattle moving, keeping neighborhoods safe, creating jobs and opportunity for all, and building strong families and healthy communities.
Nickels led the effort to build light rail in Seattle and worked with regional leaders to tackle longstanding transportation problems. Nickels made a strong commitment to public safety, hiring a record number of police officers and upgrading fire stations across the city. As mayor, he promoted investment in Seattle neighborhoods, supporting businesses to create good jobs. And Nickels put a priority on protecting those less fortunate and creating affordable housing.
Nickels earned a national reputation for his leadership on climate protection. Rolling Stone called him the "Pied Piper" of mayors for his work to protect our climate and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded him its 2006 Climate Protection Award. Nickels launched "Seattle Climate Action Now," a grassroots effort to protect the climate by taking action at home, at work and on the road.
On February 16, 2005, Nickels pledged that Seattle would lower its emissions by the amount called for in the Kyoto Protocol (which went into effect that day in 141 countries but not the USA). He began an effort to enlist mayors across the country to pledge to do the same. Over 1,000 Mayors, representing 86 million Americans have now signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement agreeing to reduce emissions voluntarily by 7% from 1990 levels by 2012.
Nickels became President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2009 promoting Seattle and the role of cities in the nation’s economy. On issues ranging from transportation to job creation, Nickels urged direct investment in cities by the federal government to put people to work and stimulate the economy.
Nickels is the oldest of six children born to Robert C. and Kathie Nickels. Born in Chicago, he has lived in Seattle since age six. A graduate of Seattle Prep, he began his public service career at age 19 with the City of Seattle while attending the University of Washington. He served as legislative assistant to then-City Councilmember Norm Rice from 1978 to 1987. In 1987, Nickels was elected to the King County Council where he served for 14 years. His many public service accomplishments
include making government more efficient by reforming Metro government, protecting children from tobacco advertising, and preserving more green space. He served as chair of the King County Board of Health for six years.
Greg Nickels’ Study Group:
All Politics is Local: Even Global Warming
Location: Faculty Dining Room(FDR)