Eric Pettigrew Announces Retirement from State Legislature

by Emerald Staff


Rep.Eric Pettigrew (D-37th) made a surprise statement this morning, announcing that he will not run for for reelection. Pettigrew, however, says he has work to do and will complete the current legislative session. Earlier this year, Pettigrew had announced he was working part time for the NHL and its new franchise here in Seattle.

Pettigrew was first elected to the Legislature as a representative 37th District representative in 2002, when he replaced Kip Tokuda, who personally mentored and recruited him to run. Pettigrew was also one of a number of young leaders of color that Norm Rice took to City Hall when he became mayor.

From South Central Los Angeles, Pettigrew came to the Pacific Northwest on a football scholarship to Oregon State University where he graduated with a degree in Sociology and Psychology. He then moved to Seattle to get his Masters in Social Work from the UW.

During his tenure in the legislature, Pettigrew worked to improve the Rainier Valley.

SouthEast Effective Development Executive Director, Lance Matteson commented, “SEED deeply appreciates Rep. Pettigrew’s support for affordable housing, economic development, and local arts and culture in Southeast Seattle.”

Pettigrew’s support for charter schools was more controversial. Many African American parents had given up on the public schools and sought any alternative to help their children get an equitable education. On the other hand, progressives felt that any dollars focused on private education was further diluting the already financially strapped public schools. Charter schools, locally and nationally, have had mixed results.

In 2010, Eric was chosen by his peers to serve as House Democratic Caucus Chair. The caucus chair is the third-ranking leadership position within the HDC, which makes Eric the highest-ranking African American in the Legislature.