Community leader Stearns to run for Auburn City Council

Attorney has extensive background in government affairs and public policy

  • Monday, April 22, 2019 11:57am
  • News


For the Auburn Reporter

Community leader Chris Stearns has launched his campaign to serve on the Auburn City Council.

Stearns enters the race for Position 1, with the early endorsement of the Martin Luther King County Labor Council.

“My family and I picked Auburn as our home because of the sense of community,” he said in a news released delivered Monday. “We love the vibrant parks, the unique small businesses and that Auburn has community members who truly care. But as Auburn grows and becomes a big city, we have big city problems we need to face head on. Our homelessness crisis continues to grow, traffic is getting worse and we have a mental health and drug epidemic that has taken hold of many in our community.

“I believe we need to aggressively tackle these problems so we can continue to recruit world-class businesses and residents,” Stearns said.

Stearns has an extensive history as an attorney, government leader and public policy advocate fighting for justice and human rights. He works for Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP, a national firm specializing in representing Native American tribes throughout the United States.

Stearns is also a commissioner and past chairman of the Washington State Gambling Commission, a law enforcement agency responsible for keeping gambling safe and honest in what is one of the largest markets in the nation.

Additionally, Stearns is the board president of the Seattle Indian Health Board, a community health clinic that provides services for 6,000 patients and operates the Thunderbird Treatment Center.

Stearns previously chaired the Seattle Human Rights Commission.

He served as Democratic counsel for the Committee on Natural Resources in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he oversaw national legislation on gambling, tribal self-governance, health care and federal recognition. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the first-ever director of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy. He later spent four years as the political advisor to the president of the National Congress of American Indians.

“The politics of Washington, D.C., and Olympia have shown us that we don’t need sound bites and rhetoric, instead we need to work together toward common goals to improve our communities,” Stearns said. “I believe we can make Auburn a regional destination for good-paying jobs, visitors and new residents who will contribute to the fabric that makes Auburn great.

“As a local community, we are innovative and resourceful, and I am ready to work with elected officials, residents and businesses to make Auburn a place we are all proud to call home,” he said.

Stearns graduated with honors in history from Williams College (Williamstown, Mass.) and received his law degree from Cornell Law School (Ithaca, N.Y.).

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ROBERT WHALE, Auburn Reporter
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