- Pete von Reichbauer
Pete von Reichbauer is a member of the
King County Council, representing District 7, a 124 square mileregion of south King Countywhich includes the cities of Algona, Washington, Federal Way, Washington, and portions of Milton, Washington, Pacific, Washington, and Auburn, Washington
* [http://www.metrokc.gov/council/members/vonReichbauer/ County Council Website]
Pete von Reichbauer is a member of the King County Council, representing District 7, a 124 square mile region of south King County which includes the cities of Algona, Federal Way, and portions of Auburn, Milton, Pacific, Kent, and Covington. Prior to his election to the council, von Reichbauer served as a Washington State Senator to the 30th District (South King County, North Pierce County) between 1973-1993.
As a member of the King County Council, von Reichbauer is best known to many for his leading role in preventing the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks from moving to Los Angeles in 1996 and helping broker the sale of the franchise from Ken Behring to current owner Paul Allen. (cite: Seattle Times, Thursday, August 10, 2006).
Some of his notable achievements on the King County Council include forging public/private partnerships to protect the Hylebos Wetlands, (a near shore salmon breeding habitat), helping fund the construction of the South King County Baseball fields, blocking the siting of Sexual Predator Housing in residential areas of South King County, securing the acquisition of Bingamon Pond as a County Park, helping fund and rebuild Redondo Beach Drive and sheparding the construction of the Federal Way Transit Center and the 317th HOV ramps on Interstate 5.
Pete von Reichbauer grew up in Lakewood, Washington and was the second son of Ludwig and Marian von Reichbauer. He went to public and private secondary schools, and graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in History. After college he joined the US Army through the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC). In the course of his military service Pete was stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana and Ft. Benning, Georgia as well as overseas in Japan. After serving on active duty, the U.S. Army Reserve, and the Washington Army National Guard, he retired at the rank of Major.
Early Political Career
Upon returning to the Puget Sound area, von Reichbauer was approached by friend and then-State Senator Booth Gardner about running for public office. In a special election held in 1973 von Reichbauer ran a campaign that narrowly defeated 30th District Republican incumbent Mike Mattingly (a 52-48 margin). The victory made von Reichbauer the youngest member of the
Washington State Senateand the fourth youngest senator in Washington history. In the ensuing years he went on to chair the Parks and Recreation Committee, the Education Committee (K-12), the Transportation Committee, and the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee of the Washington State Senate, where he focused on consumer protection, consolidation of agencies and the reform of outdated regulations. He also worked to fund the newly-formed and controversial Public Disclosure Commission. After opposing a number of party line positions as a Democrat, von Reichbauer shook up Washington State politics on February 13th, 1981 when he switched from a Democrat to a Republican and delivered the senate’s tenuous 25-24 majority into the hands of the GOP. Von Reichbauer then went on to defeat a recall effort, and served in the Senate until he left his seat in midterm to run for the King County Council.
A New Challenge
In 1992 von Reichbauer ran for the newly created 9th district congressional seat. After defeating heavily-favored Republican King County Councilmember Paul Barden in the primary, von Reichbauer lost a close election to fellow State Senator
Mike Kriedler(two independent candidates were also on the ballot) when all but one state-wide office went to the Democrats in the Clinton landslide. That same year the voters approved a merger of the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro) into King County government, and the King County Council was expanded to thirteen members. In 1993 von Reichbauer defeated State Representative Jean Marie Brough in the Republican primary election and defeated Federal Way mayor Bob Stead (by a 60-40 margin) in the general election to become the District 7 King County Councilmember.
One of the most pivotal moments in von Reichbauer’s career came in 1996 when Ken Behring, owner of the Seattle Seahawks, announced he was moving the team to Los Angeles. After other negotiators and civic leaders failed to convince Behring to sell the team and he left the bargaining table, von Reichbauer entered the process. He soon found himself one of the last people standing on behalf of local government and the Seahawks fans. At a meeting that featured many of Paul Allen’s closest business advisors, von Reichbauer was able to convince the group of the merits of saving professional football for the Puget Sound region. Sometime later, Paul Allen agreed to purchase the team and von Reichbauer was hailed by many, including King County Executive Ron Sims, as one the most important public figures in the fight to save the Seahawks. (cite: The News Tribune, Monday, June 23, 1997).
King County Council
In 1994 von Reichbauer was named chair of the Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. As chair, von Reichbauer presided over a contentious budget process in which he drew praise as a political maverick and criticism from those who claimed he acted too independently. von Reichbauer guided the Budget Committee three years in a row towards compromise in the final budget vote demonstrating yet another clear example of his ability to work across party lines and put the public’s needs ahead of politics. The Budget Committee unanimously passed the budget in 1994 and 1996, and overwhelmingly passed the budget in 1995 by a vote of 12 to 1.
In 2000 and 2001 von Reichbauer was elected by his peers to serve as chair of the King County Council. In recognition of his even-handed leadership as Chair of the Council, he was elected by his colleages vice chair when the Metropolitan King County Council changed party control in 2003 (becoming the first minority party member to serve in Council leadership). In recent years von Reichbauer has also served on the Metropolitan King County Council as Chair of the Regional Transit Committee and Regional Policy Committee, as well as Chair of the External Affairs Committee. He recently sponsored legislation to make the King County Council non-partisan.
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