Melissa Musser will not seek re-election to the Des Moines City Council


Melissa Musser, who is a Councilmember for Position #5, and whose term expires at the end of 2017, announced Thursday, Feb. 23 that she will not be seeking re-election to the Des Moines City Council.

Musser was first elected in 2009, and served three terms.

As for not seeking re-election, she cited “mean, ugly, hateful vitriol and lies” as one reason:

“Last year, during the effort to stop the placement of a drug treatment center and methadone dispensary less than 700 feet from the Woodmont K-8 School, my commitment to kids and families was called into question. It was during this campaign to relocate these services that I saw the best and the worst of our citizens. I met some amazing residents through the effort; people I now consider my friends. Something in me also broke during this time, and made it clear to me that my skin is not thick enough for a future in public office. Mean, ugly, hateful vitriol and lies were spewed at councilmembers and staff, and I took every comment to heart.”

Here’s her full announcement – which includes her endorsements – as posted on Facebook Thursday:

The 2017 City Council Election

It feels like the dust from the Presidential election has only barely begun to settle. In Des Moines, my email, phone messages and social media accounts have been abuzz questioning if I will be running to seek my third term on city council. In addition, a handful of names have started coming together as likely candidates for the next city race. While it may be the worst kept secret in my “political” circles; I have made the final decision that I will not be running for a third term. I have been formulating my formal announcement for some time, and had planned to do so in conjunction with my endorsement statement.

It was at about this time in 2009 when I was first approached to run for City Council. My kids were only 10 and 14 at the time and I had been very active with Washington State PTA for over seven years. Together with an amazing group of families, I had recently organized a successful grassroots effort to keep North Hill students attending Mount Rainier High School after a poorly constructed boundary decision by the Highline School District. I carefully considered the suggestion to run and decided that because there were no other councilpersons with school aged children serving, my perspective was sorely needed. It has always been my opinion that cities cannot attract viable economic development, family wage employers or quality housing without successful schools. Paired with the opportunity to serve with former school board member, Matt Pina, with whom I had worked for some time, I looked forward to the responsibility. Many of the decisions I made were to keep our city vibrant and sustainable for our kids.

Last year, during the effort to stop the placement of a drug treatment center and methadone dispensary less than 700 feet from the Woodmont K-8 School, my commitment to kids and families was called into question. It was during this campaign to relocate these services that I saw the best and the worst of our citizens. I met some amazing residents through the effort; people I now consider my friends. Something in me also broke during this time, and made it clear to me that my skin is not thick enough for a future in public office. Mean, ugly, hateful vitriol and lies were spewed at councilmembers and staff, and I took every comment to heart. This period of unrest rolled right into the next presidential election. Combined with the safety and anonymity of social media more misinformation, rumors and supposition than ever was posted. I recognize that it is time for me to step aside and allow someone else to step up- someone with thicker skin and a fresh perspective.

When I made this decision, there was one person I thought of that I felt would be a benefit to the city. This person has proven to be thoughtful, intelligent and level headed even during the most heated topics. I approached Harry S. Steinmetz and asked him to run for my position during the next election. Harry spent almost four years in Olympia focused on funding for senior issues including long-term care and senior housing. Harry understands our senior residents and will be an effective advocate in support of the programs and services our city offers. One thing became very clear during the past couple of years; the south end of our city needs representation. As a long time Woodmont resident, he will bring a view to many of the decisions facing the council currently missing. In addition to his stellar resume of qualifications, Harry is a genuinely good guy, even if he does have a fondness for puns. I was delighted he agreed and has filed with the PDC in preparation for the next election. His intelligence, demeanor and character make him the best choice to help move the city forward and therefore I enthusiastically formally endorse him in his race for city council- position 5.

Over the past few weeks, I have had to opportunity to meet with several other community members who have indicated they have decided to get involved with the race. I am hopeful that residents will pay attention to the races, ask questions of the candidates and vote. Matt Pina and Vic Pennington have indicated that they are running for another term and I wholeheartedly endorse and support both incumbent candidates. Together with Harry, Matt Pina and Vic, I will be casting my vote for Matt Mahoney, and hope you will too.

My first meeting with Mahoney was scheduled for a quick meet and greet. Two and half hours later I left feeling like there was so much more to talk about. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of care, commitment and common sense he has for our city. As an avid diver, Community Advisory Committee Member, North Hill Block Watch Captain and North Hill Community Club member, he has taken every opportunity to get involved in this city.

I look forward to seeing what these four will accomplish together behind the dais. They each bring a non-partisan view of city issues that Des Moines needs to be successful. They will make sound, reasonable, sustainable decisions free from party platforms or political ideologies. Each understands what issues are city issues and what issues are not.

In closing, thank you Des Moines for the honor and privilege of serving you for the last seven plus years. I take with me memories, friendships, experiences and knowledge that I wouldn’t trade the world for. It has truly been a remarkable journey.


Comments

One Response to “Melissa Musser will not seek re-election to the Des Moines City Council”
  1. John O'Leary says:

    Melissa, thank you for your years of service to the Des Moines community!

    Rate: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

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