Burien City Council elects first woman of color to serve as mayor 1

Burien’s new mayor, Sofia Aragon

By Nicholas Johnson

At its first meeting of the year, the Burien City Council elected its first woman of color to serve as mayor.

As a child in the 1970s, Sofia Aragon came to Seattle from the Philippines with her family. On Monday evening, after two years as a city council member, Aragon was elected mayor in a 4-3 vote.

“I’m incredibly humbled to receive the nomination and be supported in this role,” Aragon said upon her election, adding that she is honored to follow former mayor Jimmy Matta, who became the city’s first Latino mayor in 2018.

“I have some really big shoes to fill,” Aragon said of Matta, who won re-election in November after serving as mayor for all four years of his first term.

“He’s gone above and beyond what was expected of him for mayor,” Aragon said. “I particularly admire his willingness to outreach to community members whether or not they are in agreement on issues debated by the city council.”

Aragon, who was nominated by council member Kevin Schilling, received support from newly elected council member Stephanie Mora as well as Matta and Schilling. Newly elected council member Sarah Moore, who was nominated by newly elected council member Hugo Garcia, received support from Garcia and council member Cydney Moore.

Immediately after the council’s vote, Sarah Moore congratulated Aragon, who then lauded Moore for her own willingness “to exercise that leadership.”

Here’s video of Aragon’s acceptance speech:

Burien City Council elects first woman of color to serve as mayor 2

Burien’s new deputy mayor, Kevin Schilling.

“I’m here to support the entire council to make sure we function the best we can as a whole,” Aragon said. “I think we’re united in wanting to work for the best in the city, but in order to do that my task is to make sure we have those thorough discussions, that everyone is heard. And we have all won our campaigns, so it’s time to get to work.”

Following Aragon’s election, the council voted 4-3 to elect Schilling to serve as deputy mayor.

“I’m excited to be deputy mayor of the city of Burien, having been raised in the city of Burien,” Schilling said, describing Aragon and himself as “a duo of leadership that showcases the new and the historic.

“We have a member of the city who is relatively new and someone who has generations of family that’s lived in the area,” Schilling said. “I think we’re going to make a lot of really positive change together, and I’m excited to do that with respect, I’m excited to do that with creativity and I’m excited to do that with a whole hell of a lot of hard work.”

 

Nicholas Johnson (he/him) is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer who grew up in Boulevard Park, graduated from Highline High School and studied journalism at Western Washington University. Send news tips, story ideas and positive vibes to [email protected].