Councilmember Neal Black announced that he is running for re-election to the Kirkland City Council. Black was first elected to the Council in 2019, filling a seat vacated by former Mayor Amy Walen, who was elected in 2018 to the State House of Representatives. That seat expires at the end of 2021.
Although Black has been on the Council only two years, his work has already garnered praise from leaders in the Kirkland community. “I’ve watched with interest Neal’s first year on the Council,” said former Kirkland Councilmember Tom Neir. “He’s thoughtful, listens to the concerns of others, works cooperatively with fellow councilmembers and city staff, comes prepared, and prioritizes sound government decision-making.”
In addition to former Councilmember Neir, Black is endorsed by Walen, former Kirkland Mayor and former State Representative Joan McBride, State Senator Patty Kuderer, State Representative Roger Goodman, State Representative Davina Duerr, and King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci.
“My first year on the Council saw unprecedented challenges for the city, including COVID, calls for new approaches to community safety in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, social inequalities laid bare by the pandemic, small business owners and their workers hit hard by the COVID response, and renewed calls for more access to affordable housing” said Black in announcing his run for re-election. “I’m extremely proud of what our city and community were able to achieve this year, even in the face of these challenging issues, but I know there is more to be done. The groundwork is laid for addressing these and other challenges, and I’m excited to continue my service to Kirkland’s residents.”
Black intends to use his time on the Council to prioritize affordable housing by adopting policies that encourage a greater mix of housing types, relief and recovery for business owners, workers, and residents hit hardest by the pandemic, thoughtful and sustainable planning for economic development and growth around transit hubs and walkable neighborhood centers, more and diverse transportation options that reduce congestion, and fostering a community where people have equal access to opportunities.
“It’s important to have city leaders who care about a safe and welcoming community,” said McBride. “Neal has demonstrated his commitment to a Kirkland where everyone living, working, and visiting feels safe, is afforded equal access to affordable housing and other opportunities, and knows they belong.”
In addition to his work on the Kirkland City Council, Black is a frequent volunteer. He coached and managed at every level of Kirkland American Little League for over 10 years. He is also a current member of the Board of Trustees of the King County Bar Association, where he helps oversee the Housing Justice Project and other pro bono programs that provide civil legal aid to the most vulnerable in the community.
After graduating from Stanford University and Georgetown Law, Black settled in Kirkland in 1998 with his wife. He is a partner in his own law firm, Adkins Black. He advises businesses in the software technology sector and represents many of the region’s software technology companies. Councilmember Black has also taught at Seattle University and the University of Washington law schools.
“I love my work on the Council,” said Black. “My commitment is to compassionate, thoughtful, service-oriented decision-making, coupled with proactive community engagement, regardless of the issue.”
To learn more about Black, visit his campaign website at www.votenealblack.com.
About Neal Black
Neal lives in Kirkland with his wife and two teenage sons. He has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Stanford University and a law degree from Georgetown University. In addition to being a member of the Board of Trustees of the King County Bar Association (2018 to present), he is the outgoing chair of the organization’s Public Policy Committee (2014 to 2019). Prior to that, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of Washington Ceasefire (2007 to 2009), at the time the leading non-profit organization in Washington advocating for common-sense gun safety legislation. He taught courses at the University of Washington School of Law (2009 to 2016), the Seattle University School of Law (2008), and the Seattle University Albers School of Business and Economics (2007), as an adjunct professor and part-time lecturer. He has also worked on public policy for the White House Office on Environmental Policy (1994), the California State Assembly Natural Resources Committee (1993), the US Department of Justice Environmental Enforcement Division (1997), and the Environmental Defense Fund (1996), as a clerk and intern. As a member of the Kirkland Council, Neal sits on Kirkland’s Disability Board and represents Kirkland regionally on the Water Resource Inventory Area Salmon Recovery Council (WRIA 8), the Eastside Transportation Partnership (ETP), and the King County Regional Law, Safety and Justice Committee. Neal is a former Vice President and General Counsel of Square Enix, a global developer of interactive software, and Emergent Payments, a start-up company that developed software solutions for the interactive software industry. Since 2009, Neal has been a law partner at the firm of Adkins Black LLP. Neal has announced his intent to run for re-election for Kirkland City Council, Position 5.
Editor’s note: This is a press release from the candidate’s campaign.