On January 2, 2018, Victoria Woodards was sworn in as the mayor of Tacoma—the third largest city in Washington state. She was elected on November 7, 2017, with 54 percent of the votes cast. Her priorities include increasing the number of family-wage jobs in Tacoma, public safety, responsible budgeting, growing local businesses, and identifying lasting solutions to the homelessness and mental health crisis.
Woodards has called the “City of Destiny” her home for nearly her entire life. She is a proud graduate of Lincoln High School and served as a soldier in the United States Army while stationed at Fort Lewis. Before becoming mayor, Woodards served for seven years as a citywide member of the Tacoma City Council. During that time, she chaired the Community Vitality and Safety Committee, led the city’s equity and empowerment initiative that resulted in the launch of the Office of Equity and Human Rights, brought partner organizations together for President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and spearheaded the city’s Project PEACE initiative that bridged community members with the Tacoma Police Department.
As a City Council member, she approved balanced budgets that demonstrated sound fiscal management of city resources. Woodards also voted to approve the City of Tacoma’s paid sick and safe leave ordinance as well as an increase in the minimum wage.
Mayor Woodards’ career demonstrates a strong track record of public service. She is a graduate of the American Leadership Forum and has worked as an assistant to former Tacoma City Council member and Mayor Harold Moss as well as assistant to Pierce County Council member Tim Farrell. Woodards served as president of the Tacoma Urban League and most recently as director of Community Development for the Tacoma Rainiers.
For over two decades, Woodards has been known as a passionate civic leader throughout Tacoma. She has held positions as president of the Tacoma Metropolitan Parks Board; member of the Board of Trustees for the Washington State History Museum and the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Grants Distribution Committee; and chair of the Washington State Commission of African American Affairs and the Joint Municipal Action Committee. Woodards has also served as the lead producer of the annual Ethnic Fest event for the past 10 years.
Victoria has been a member of Allen AME Church, pastored by the Rev. Anthony Steele, for almost 40 years. As a youth, she was active as a member of the youth choir, usher board, and the Young Peoples Department. She has served in many positions within the church, including, a member of the Ellen Kellum Women’s Missionary Society, YPD Director, and as a choir director for both the Youth and Women’s Choirs.