Two-term Lynnwood City Councilmember Ben Goodwin, who recently announced he won’t be seeking re-election, said he is grateful for his experience as an elected official, but is looking forward to new adventures.
Goodwin was first elected to the council in 2011 and has served as council president since 2017. His term expires at the end of December.
“I love giving and receiving knowledge and being on the council afforded me several opportunities to do just that,” he said. “I had the opportunity to work with great people and will continue to do that until, and through Dec. 31.”
While on the council, Goodwin has served on multiple boards and commissions including the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Commission; the Historical Commission; Snohomish County Tomorrow; the Regional Fire Authority Transition Board; Citizens Patrol; the Affordable Housing Commission and Snohomish County Health District.
However, Goodwin said he is ready to explore other opportunities and focus more on his family. He and his wife are expecting their fourth child, a daughter, in October. He also said as his three other children get older, he wants to be present for their sports and other after-school activities.
“That’s something that I don’t want to miss,” he said.
Goodwin’s interest in politics began when he was a child studying voting pamphlets with his father. And he has passed along with interest to his children. While first campaigning for the city council, his oldest child – age 3 at the time — enjoyed going door to door with his dad.
Years later, Goodwin said his son enjoys participating with his dad in some of his civic duties.
“He loves going to the fire commission meeting,” he said. “Mostly I think it’s because they have cookies, though.”
Additionally, Goodwin has decided to explore other career opportunities. Having recently graduated with a doctoral degree in law from Seattle University, he is currently focused on studying for the bar exam. Goodwin’s said his decision to attend law school was a forgotten dream of his from high school. While searching through old boxes, he found a letter from his high school self that listed 100 things he wanted to do when he grew up. In the letter, he wrote that he wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer.
“I wanted to do something more, but I like doing a lot of things,” he said. “Going to law school would open up a lot of things for me.”
However, Goodwin said that even if he passes the bar exam, he may not become a lawyer. Instead, he has considered opening a consulting firm that teaches leadership skills to potential managers. The idea would be a family venture with his brother, who is currently a manager at Boeing.
“That’s one of the takeaways that I’ve learned from being on the city council and being council president,” he said. “Working with varied people in various positions.”
In addition to acquiring leadership skills, Goodwin said he has learned a great deal about Lynnwood residents and their passion for volunteering. Throughout the years of attending volunteer ceremonies and recognition dinners, he said he was amazed at the amount of volunteer time people would donate to their city.
“It’s fantastic to have so many people that are willing to give up time, because that’s the most valuable asset we have and we can’t get that back,” he said. “They’re willing to give that up to serve other citizens in Lynnwood.”
As a civic leader, Goodwin said one of the times he felt he was able to make an impact on his community was in 2013, when the city council authorized the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department to purchase 13 acres of land near Meadowdale Beach Park. The acquisition of the unincorporated land saved it from becoming part of a development Goodwin said would have been harmful to the environment. The issue drew support from several residents who live outside of the Lynnwood city limits, and they attended the city council meeting when the decision was made.
“They gave each of us a handmade sign thanking us for stepping in at that particular moment,” he said.
Though Goodwin said he has no plans to continue in politics after his term expires, he said he will enjoy his remaining months working with other city staff and officials who serve the community.
Nominations for a new Lynnwood City Council president will begin at the council’s first work session meeting of 2020. The council will discuss their options and elect a new council president at its first business meeting of the year.
–Story by Cody Sexton