Retired City Attorney Pete Holmes to accept Lynn Allen Award at NPI’s 2023 Spring Gala

April is upon us! With the date of our 2023 Spring Fundrais­ing Gala draw­ing near, NPI is delight­ed today to announce that we will be rec­og­niz­ing Pete Holmes, a for­mer Seat­tle City Attor­ney who served the peo­ple of the Emer­ald City for three terms as its chief legal offi­cer, with a Lynn Allen Award at the event.

Here’s an extend­ed bio­graph­i­cal sketch:

Pete Holmes has worked at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment to address need­ed reforms and poli­cies to pro­tect pub­lic safe­ty and make sure that our crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem reflects our shared values.

Holmes has helped change statewide sen­tenc­ing laws to pro­tect immi­grants from depor­ta­tion, worked to both legal­ize cannabis and vacate past pos­ses­sion crim­i­nal records, devel­oped new incar­cer­a­tion diver­sion pro­grams to help young peo­ple avoid life­long crim­i­nal records, and redou­bled the city’s efforts to address gun violence.

Pete served as a con­sis­tent liai­son between the City and the fed­er­al judge over­see­ing the Depart­ment of Jus­tice con­sent decree to ensure that last­ing and mean­ing­ful struc­tur­al changes are enact­ed at the Seat­tle Police Department.

Upon tak­ing office, Pete dis­missed all pend­ing mar­i­jua­na pos­ses­sion cas­es and declined to file sub­se­quent charges. He became a pri­ma­ry spon­sor of Ini­tia­tive 502, cul­mi­nat­ing in Washington’s his­toric 2012 vote to legal­ize, reg­u­late, and tax mar­i­jua­na for adult use. He has been and remains an out­spo­ken crit­ic of the War on Drugs.

In his first year as City Attor­ney, Pete also took action to reduce pros­e­cu­tions of peo­ple dri­ving with a license sus­pend­ed in the third degree, also known as “dri­ving while poor.”

To avoid manda­to­ry depor­ta­tion of doc­u­ment­ed immi­grants con­vict­ed of minor crimes, he fur­ther instruct­ed pros­e­cu­tors to stop request­ing sus­pend­ed jail sen­tences total­ing 365 days. Pete sub­se­quent­ly helped con­vince the Leg­is­la­ture to lim­it the max­i­mum jail sen­tence for all mis­de­meanors to 364 days, lim­it­ing the reach of dys­func­tion­al fed­er­al immi­gra­tion laws across the state.

He also suc­cess­ful­ly defend­ed Seattle’s sta­tus as a Wel­com­ing City to immi­grants despite a Trump Administration’s ongo­ing hostility.

Pete part­nered with King Coun­ty to launch a ground­break­ing region­al firearms unit to enforce civ­il extreme risk gun sur­ren­der orders, one which was recent­ly used in part­ner­ship with fed­er­al author­i­ties to a seize weapons arse­nal main­tained by white suprema­cist neo-nazi accel­er­a­tionists. A cham­pi­on for police reform, Pete was an orig­i­nal mem­ber of Seat­tle Police Department’s first civil­ian over­sight body, the Office of Pro­fes­sion­al Account­abil­i­ty Review Board, and served as chair for 5 years. He is also a mem­ber of the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion for Civil­ian Over­sight of Law Enforcement.

In 2019–2020, Pete Holmes and his office were part of the suc­cess­ful coali­tion that sued to stop Tim Eyman’s incred­i­bly destruc­tive Ini­tia­tive 976 from going into effect, destroy­ing mul­ti­modal trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture and slash­ing tran­sit ser­vice across the state, includ­ing Seat­tle. Our team is deeply appre­cia­tive of Pete’s com­mit­ment to defend our com­mu­ni­ties from bad bal­lot mea­sures like 976.

Seat­tle May­or Jen­ny Durkan and City Attor­ney Pete Holmes announce that the city will join King Coun­ty in suing to over­turn Tim Eyman’s incred­i­bly destruc­tive Ini­tia­tive 976 (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Pro­gres­sive Institute)

The Lynn Allen Awards, begun in 2017, are NPI’s high­est honor.

We bestow them upon peo­ple who have made indis­pens­able con­tri­bu­tions to pro­gres­sive caus­es for a decade or more. Each year, we con­fer two Lynn Allen Awards on deserv­ing recip­i­ents of dif­fer­ent genders.

Lynn Allen was a found­ing board­mem­ber of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute. We lost Lynn to ovar­i­an can­cer in 2011, but her spir­it has remained with us.

(And so have her pub­lished works, pre­served by NPI at Rebuild­ing Democ­ra­cy.)

Lynn believed in the impor­tant work of orga­niz­ing rur­al com­mu­ni­ties and act­ing on issues of con­cern to peo­ple liv­ing far away from our big cities and urban areas. She believed strong­ly in the pol­i­tics of inclu­sion, and walked her talk.

As com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor of the Insti­tute for Washington’s Future, she trav­eled reg­u­lar­ly to Washington’s rur­al coun­ties and small towns, cham­pi­oning sus­tain­able busi­ness and agri­cul­tur­al practices.

A skilled facil­i­ta­tor and gift­ed lis­ten­er, Lynn under­stood the impor­tance of and need for effec­tive activism. Not a day goes by when we don’t miss her.

The sea­son of renew­al is the per­fect time to cel­e­brate her legacy.

Read­ers, we invite you to join us on Sat­ur­day, April 29th (either in-per­son or online) as we rec­og­nize Pete Holmes with a Lynn Allen Award.

Here are the details for this year’s gala:

  • What: NPI’s 2023 Spring Fundrais­ing Gala
  • Where: South Belle­vue Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter or online… your choice!
  • When: Sat­ur­day, April 29th | Recep­tion at 5:30 PM; pro­gram at 6:30 PM
  • Who: Join the NPI team and Lynn Allen Award recip­i­ent Pete Holmes
  • Why: Help NPI con­tin­ue to expand its essen­tial research and advocacy

Be inspired to con­tin­ue work­ing for a pro­gres­sive future for our region and coun­try: join us on April 29th at the Ren­ton Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter! Fol­low this link to secure­ly buy your indi­vid­ual, house­hold, or liv­ing light­ly ticket.

Andrew Villeneuve

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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