Northwest News

Michael Courts, ex-JBLM Army colonel, will be next DuPont mayor

The election is months away, but DuPont already knows who will be its next mayor starting in 2016.

City Councilman Michael Courts is running unopposed to succeed Mayor Michael Grayum, who is not seeking re-election.

Courts, 56, is a retired Army colonel who ended his military career at I Corps, the Army headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. His father also is a retired Army officer who lives in DuPont.

Uncontested elections are nothing new for the city near JBLM that is home to fewer than 10,000 people, many of them troops and military retirees. Grayum ran unopposed for mayor in 2011. Courts’ City Council election also was uncontested that year.

Courts said he’d been looking forward to a campaign.

“A little disappointment but also some relief — now I know I’m going to get this job, so my responsibility is to spend my time preparing for it,” he said.

Grayum, 36, is leaving local government after terms as a city councilman and mayor because his new position with a Seattle company requires him to spend more time away from home.

He said he also accomplished what he set out do when he ran for mayor four years ago by setting a more stable foundation for DuPont’s finances. He turned to Courts when he decided he would not run again.

“I really respect his passion for the roots he and his family have here and his commitment to making it better,” Grayum said of his successor.

Courts joined the City Council in 2011. He said he enjoyed working in local government and believed the city has rebounded from the recession.

“In local government, you can actually make a difference,” he said. “My neighbors can walk across the street if they have an issue. Your neighbors are your constituents. You can’t hide from people.”

As mayor, he wants to focus on recruiting businesses that would employ DuPont residents. Today, he said, most residents work outside the city limits while most people who work in DuPont commute from other cities.

“I would look at how we develop property to provide both revenue for our city and employment for our citizens,” he said.

Courts graduated from Clover Park High School in Lakewood before attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He and his wife have two grown children.

Since leaving the Army in 2011, Courts has worked part time as a ski instructor and taught kayaking lessons.