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Victoria Woodards has called the “City of Destiny” her home for nearly her entire life. She is a proud graduate of Tacoma’s Lincoln High School and served as a soldier in the United States Army. Before becoming Mayor in 2018, she served for seven years as an at-large member of the City Council. During that time, she launched the City’s Equity and Empowerment initiative which led to the establishment of its Office of Equity and Human Rights. She also brought partner organizations together for then President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and spearheaded the City’s Project PEACE initiative which bridged community members with the Tacoma Police Department.
In Woodards’ first term as Mayor, she continues to be a champion of these important issues while expanding her involvement in regional and national conversations on affordable housing, transportation, economic development, strengthening youth and families, public safety, growing local business, and the creation of family wage jobs. She has also worked to more fully engage the City’s youth in community decisions that impact them every day, by expanding Student Government Day and establishing a Youth Council.
Woodards currently serves as co-chair of the National League of Cities Council on Youth, Education, and Families, and was one of six mayors selected to participate in the National League of Cities Mayors’ Institute on Opioids. Some of her other leadership roles as Tacoma’s mayor include positions on the Puget Sound Regional Council Executive Board, South Sound 911 Policy Board, Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board, Pierce Transit Board, Sound Transit Board, Foundation for Tacoma Students Board, and the Workforce Central Board.
Woodards was one of just 40 mayors chosen from around the globe to participate in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Institute, whose mission is to inspire and strengthen city leaders and equip them with tools to lead high-performing, innovative cities. She is now leveraging those tools to gather the community’s input on how police services could improve in Tacoma, and plans to use that input to evaluate current performance measures.
During the family separation crisis this summer, Woodards reaffirmed her support for immigrant and refugee families and noted that Tacoma remains a Welcoming City committed to providing immigrant and refugee communities with equitable access to City services. Under her leadership, the City appointed members to its first Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. This commission was established to better engage with immigrant and refugee communities, and to work with local organizations to identify and advance positive outcomes for community members in need.
Woodards has demonstrated a lifelong track record of public service. She served as president of the Tacoma Urban League and as director of community development for the Tacoma Rainiers. Her past civic engagement work has also included leadership positions with the Tacoma Metropolitan Parks Board, the Washington State History Museum, and the Washington State Commission of African American Affairs.