Woodards appointed Tacoma Deputy Mayor

Tacoma City Councilmember Victoria Woodards was appointed deputy mayor this week during an event at City Hall that she described as ‘incredibly special’ and historically significant.

“Before you tonight . . . [is] the first time you have seen two African-American women — one who will serve as your mayor and one who will serve as your deputy mayor,” said Deputy Mayor Woodards, who applauded the diversity represented on council and citywide. “I think that says a lot about our community and how we embrace diversity. I am honored to be a part of . . . this history-making moment with Mayor Strickland.”

Deputy Mayor Woodards, who is African-American, was elected to city council in 2009, and was re-elected last year. Her term as councilmember expires on Dec. 31, 2017. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, also African-American, was elected to city council in 2008, and was elected mayor the following year. She is the city’s first female African-American mayor.

Deputy Mayor Woodards, an Army veteran, was born and raised in Tacoma. Her public service includes work at Allen AME Church, Crystal Judson Family Justice Center, Foundation for Tacoma Schools, Metro Parks Tacoma, Tacoma Gang Project, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Washington State Commission of African American Affairs, and the Washington State History Museum. She is currently the executive director of the Tacoma Urban League.

“Victoria has been a long-time public servant to this city in many, many roles: as a volunteer; as a person who cares deeply for our children and their welfare; and just doing great things to serve all people,” said Mayor Strickland during a city council meeting on Tuesday. “We’re very pleased to have her here.”

The deputy mayor post, a one-year term, was previously held by Councilmember Marty Campbell.

“Sometimes she’s not here and you have to step in,” said Councilmember Campbell. “I’ll tell you first-hand, sitting in that seat is a lot different than sitting in the seat over here.”

“The job of deputy mayor is really not just serving as my stand-in, but representing us,” added Mayor Strickland. “Councilmember Campbell has done this well regionally and also [by being] very active at the National League of Cities, as well.”

Mayor Strickland presented a plaque to Councilmember Campbell to mark his service as deputy mayor.

“I’m not normally one to point out the obvious, but I think that as we get close to MLK Day and Black History Month that we think about just how great this community is,” said Deputy Mayor Woodards. “I want to highlight this moment because it’s incredibly special for me.” She concluded her comments by quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, a heart of grace, and a soul generated by love.”

Tacoma City Councilmember Victoria Woodards was appointed deputy mayor this week. An Army veteran born and raised in Tacoma, Deputy Mayor Woodards was elected to city council in 2009, and was re-elected last year. She is currently executive director of the Tacoma Urban League. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Tacoma City Councilmember Victoria Woodards was appointed deputy mayor this week. An Army veteran born and raised in Tacoma, Deputy Mayor Woodards was elected to city council in 2009, and was re-elected last year. She is currently executive director of the Tacoma Urban League. (COURTESY PHOTO)

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of deputy mayor appointments, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengers; third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright; and second-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State. His work has also appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.