PORT TOWNSEND — Ariel Speser will not seek re-election for a second term on the Port Townsend City Council, she announced last week.
“It’s bittersweet to be making this decision,” said Speser, who is expecting her second child in September. “Serving as a Port Townsend Council member has been a truly transformative and rewarding experience.”
Elected in 2018, Speser is particularly proud of her work on the Behavioral Health Advisory Board (BHAC), which helps fund substance abuse and mental health services in Jefferson County.
She said in a press release issued Friday that the BHAC was first to provide part-time funding for the city’s behavioral health navigator — a full-time case worker, specially trained in de-escalation, who works with the Port Townsend Police Department.
Speser said she became involved in local politics “to help ensure Port Townsend remains a livable, vibrant, and inclusive community for working families and all those who call Port Townsend home.
“Growing up here instilled strong values of social and environmental justice, a commitment to serving those who are the most vulnerable, and a true appreciation for the beauty around us,” she said.
Speser, who was 35 in January 2020 when her first child was born, said that as part of a younger generation of civic leaders, she is optimistic about Port Townsend’s future. She cited as an example the council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Public Safety recommendations, which she said will make Port Townsend Police practices more transparent, evidence-based and focused on harm reduction.
With three council seats up for election this year, Speser said she hopes to see a diverse set of candidates running for elected office.
She recommended interested people visit the Jefferson County League of Women Voters website, where there is an educational YouTube video on running for and serving on Port Townsend’s City Council at https://lwvwa.org/ Jefferson. Another resource is the state Public Disclosure Commission at https://www.pdc.wa.gov.
“I hope we have a vibrant election season where new voices can put forth their ideas for making our community more inclusive and more livable for working families,” she said.
Speser works for the state Attorney General’s Office in both Jefferson and Clallam counties.
She plans to continue living in Port Townsend with her husband, 16-month-old daughter, the second child she is expecting and the family’s terrier.