Endorsements

The Urbanist

The Urbanist

The Urbanist was founded in early 2014 in order to examine and influence urban policies. We believe that cities provide unique opportunities for addressing many of the most difficult problems we face. Our website serves as a resource for sharing ideas, creating community, and improving the places we live.

Countywide Races

King County

  • Non-Partisan
  • Evergreen Future
  • Sen. Joe Nguyen was elected to the Washington state Senate in 2018 and has worked as a senior program manager at Microsoft since 2013. His parents were refugees from Vietnam who came to White Center, where Nguyen was born and raised.

    During Nguyen's time in the Legislature, he has been an advocate for Washington's families and equality, including playing a leadership role in fully funding the Working Families Tax Credit. In addition, he co-sponsored legislation to require anti-racism and equity training in public schools.

    Nguyen is running for county executive to implement sweeping actions on the affordable housing crisis, to reform the criminal justice system with deep changes and accountability, and to make the state's economy work for everyone, not just the wealthiest people. In particular, Nguyen has proposed to make all transit services free to improve access and increase ridership. He also wants to leverage the new Regional Homelessness Authority to significantly scale up the building of affordable housing.

    Nguyen has the support of elected leaders including state Reps. Kirsten Harris-Talley and David Hackney as well as state Sen. Bob Hasegawa and Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti. Nguyen is a progressive choice if you're looking for new leadership in the executive's office who will prioritize racial justice and systemic change.

    Joe Nguyen

    Sen. Joe Nguyen was elected to the Washington state Senate in 2018 and has worked as a senior program manager at Microsoft since 2013. His parents were refugees from Vietnam who came to White Center, where Nguyen was born and raised.

County Council Races

King County Council

  • Non-Partisan
  • Ubax Gardheere came to King County as a refugee 25 years ago and has since spent her time organizing for better housing, health, and sustainability outcomes for all. She currently works as the director of Seattle's Equitable Development Initiative (EDI). The project was established in 2016 as a community-led way to support and fund equitable work in Black and brown neighborhoods facing displacement. Some of their funded projects include transitional and affordable housing, programming for youth, seniors, and refugees, local gardens, and the redevelopment of cultural centers. She was also previously a program director at Puget Sound Sage, where she focused her efforts on community-based planning and bringing racial justice to policymaking.

    In our interview, Gardheere stated that she wants to increase community land trusts, which would create more permanently affordable housing and protect property from speculation and bidding wars on the open market. Hand-in-hand with these policies, she would advocate for more parks and open space development, as well as green infrastructure, to help neighborhoods mitigate the effects of climate change. Finally, she believes that a criminal justice system focusing on putting people in jail has damaged our communities, and would increase investments to address issues like food scarcity and community-based alternatives to policing.

    Gardheere has the experience of managing a team that has moved over $50 million into marginalized communities, empowering them to make decisions that are right for their unique needs. Her demonstrated experience organizing inside communities and in government, along with the collaborative model that she has fostered, speaks well of her potential as a King County Council member.

    Ubax Gardheere

    Ubax Gardheere came to King County as a refugee 25 years ago and has since spent her time organizing for better housing, health, and sustainability outcomes for all. She currently works as the director of Seattle's Equitable Development Initiative (EDI).

Mayoral Races

Seattle Mayor

  • Evergreen Future
  • Colleen Echohawk is the executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, a nonprofit whose mission is to build new affordable housing for urban Native people. She has also spent four years as a community police commissioner, an experience that she hopes to leverage into meaningful police reform. Echohawk is an enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake. Her campaign centers equity in its approach to economic recovery, homelessness, and public safety.

    If elected, Echohawk would launch a 14-month emergency housing plan to build 4,000 units of temporary housing and create a citizen volunteer corps to provide mutual aid. She plans to activate Seattle’s Emergency Operations Center to track and report data, which can collaborate across city departments and report analytics. Echohawk points out that with an 80 percent vacancy rate in hotels, the city can bargain to use them along with tiny homes and modular housing to expand more dignified shelter options.

    Echohawk brings unique experience working in the Community Police Commission, which was established in 2010 and aims to provide oversight and accountability on needed reforms to the Seattle Police Department. She states that she supports reinvestment of some police funding into services such as mental health responders. She wants to repair the legitimacy of the department by rebuilding the police union contract, opposing militarization, refocusing the police to tackling issues like violent crimes and emergencies, and creating a culture with zero tolerance for bad cops.

    Other priorities for Echohawk include expanding access to transit passes for low-income residents, upping funding for bridges and road projects, and establishing an Office of Indigenous Affairs to further the city’s practices in ecology and other policies.

    What sets Echohawk apart from her opponents is her hands-on experience working for and within the urban native community, as well as on the issues of homelessness and affordable housing. If elected, she would be the first Indigenous mayor of Seattle. If you’re looking for a candidate from outside City Hall who has community and organizational leadership experience, vote for Colleen Echohawk.

    Colleen Echohawk

    Colleen Echohawk is the executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, a nonprofit whose mission is to build new affordable housing for urban Native people.

City Attorney Races

Seattle City Attorney

  • Also in this race is Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, a public defender and managing attorney at her own practice. Before working in law, Thomas-Kennedy was a bartender and server around Pike Place Market.

    Thomas-Kennedy is running on an abolitionist platform to bring bold change to the justice system from the inside. She believes our city would be safer if we disinvested from carceral punishment and police intervention, and put resources toward community support instead. She states that prosecuting minor offenses only adds to incarceration rates and worsens existing social inequalities.

    Thomas-Kennedy proposes to shift resources from the office’s criminal division to strengthen the civil unit and build a victim advocate unit. She wants to end qualified immunity to hold the police accountable. Her other campaign ideas include ending the “War on Drugs,” investing in restorative and transformative justice models, holding fossil fuel companies accountable, fighting wage theft, and strengthening tenant rights.

    Thomas-Kennedy is an alternative if you're looking for bold changes to the city attorney's office and sweeping reforms to the criminal justice system.

    Nicole Thomas-Kennedy

    Submitted by Collin on Fri, 07/09/2021 - 17:22

    Also in this race is Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, a public defender and managing attorney at her own practice. Before working in law, Thomas-Kennedy was a bartender and server around Pike Place Market.

City Council Races

Seattle City Council

  • Evergreen Future
  • Lawyer and community activist Nikkita Oliver is running for Seattle City Council, Position 9. Oliver, who uses they/them pronouns, works with numerous local groups including Urban Impact, the Urban Youth Leadership Academy, and the Union Gospel Mission’s Youth Reach Out Center. Oliver also serves as executive director of Creative Justice and is a member of coalitions like Decriminalize Seattle, Free Them All WA, and No New Youth Jail.

    Their forward-looking platform is centered around economic, social, racial, and environmental justice – including ensuring the concentration of power among the wealthy gets redistributed. Affordable housing for everyone, redirecting police funding to make investments in communities, and bringing a Green New Deal to Seattle are among Oliver’s top priorities. If elected, Oliver would pursue policies to make sure everyone living in Seattle can thrive, like closing our wealth gap, preparing for disasters like wildfire season that disproportionately impact Black, brown, and Indigenous communities, and providing municipal broadband internet for all.

    Oliver previously ran for mayor of Seattle in 2017. Their campaign is prioritizing mutual aid and community-based care, demonstrating their commitment to addressing the many issues facing Seattle equitably with the support and involvement of community members.

    Nikkita Oliver

    Lawyer and community activist Nikkita Oliver is running for Seattle City Council, Position 9. Oliver, who uses they/them pronouns, works with numerous local groups including Urban Impact, the Urban Youth Leadership Academy, and the Union Gospel Mission’s Youth Reach Out Center.

School Board Races

Seattle

  • Incumbent Erin Dury is running to retain her seat on Seattle School Board in District 4. Dury was appointed to the seat this March after Director Eden Mack resigned. Her appointment was influenced by positive reviews she received from the NAACP Youth Council during a forum they hosted at the time.

    Outside of the school board, Dury runs her own consulting firm that teaches nonprofits how to apply anti-racist practices. Previously, Dury served as the executive director of an organization of court-appointed advocates for kids moving through the foster system. She is the parent of a current Seattle Public Schools student and believes schools must provide an equitable and safe environment for students to learn and thrive in.

    If elected, Dury's biggest focus would be ensuring that the school board is responsive, transparent, and communicates better during the transition back to the classroom this fall. As part of this, she wants to advocate for more mental health resources and services in schools. In addition, she wants to continue focusing on cultural representation in both the curriculum and classrooms and would pay particular attention to the needs of students who have been historically marginalized in Seattle’s school system.

    The Seattle School Board has experienced high levels of turnover in recent years, with all but one member still serving their first term. Dury is a good choice if you believe the board would benefit from stability and greater institutional knowledge, especially as the district continues the transition back to in-person learning and begins the search for a new superintendent.

    Erin Dury

    Incumbent Erin Dury is running to retain her seat on Seattle School Board in District 4. Dury was appointed to the seat this March after Director Eden Mack resigned.

  • Endorsed By: The Urbanist , WA Ethnic Studies Now, five current Seattle School Board members.
  • Michelle Sarju is running for Seattle School Board in District 5. Sarju is a former midwife, social worker, and PTA member who currently works with King County Public Health.

    Sarju is running to make sure that all children in the Seattle Public School system have a chance at a quality education and has earned strong progressive support in this race. Her campaign platform includes closing the racial gap in student opportunity, valuing alternative evidence-based metrics for success above standardized tests, providing social and emotional support for students, and investing in anti-racist curriculum. She believes that re-entry to in-person learning must be accompanied by increased vaccine access for both faculty and students. She also believes that in order to care for students during re-entry, schools must provide more mental health support. Sarju is committed to not simply going back to normal post-COVID, but instead addressing root causes to make our school system stronger and more equitable than ever.

    Sarju is running against Crystal Liston and Dan Harder. Liston, who identifies as a disabled lesbian parent of two children in West Seattle school, wants to bring a new perspective to the school board. She has been highly involved with the school system, volunteering at 20 of the district’s 103 schools. Liston’s vision for the position is to bring an equity lens to the curriculum and resource distribution, support teachers and staff, and improve access to mental health resources for students.

    Harder, a Boeing engineer, is running on a reactionary, Trump-style agenda focused on a conspiracy theory about critical race theory. Harder would use this excuse to walk back progress made in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Seattle Public School system. He lacks a vision for the role beyond Trump politics and has no community or elected experience.

    We recommend Michelle Sarju for Seattle School Board in District 5 because of her clear, progressive vision and the broad support she has earned from our partners and local leaders.

    Michelle Sarju

    Michelle Sarju is running for Seattle School Board in District 5. Sarju is a former midwife, social worker, and PTA member who currently works with King County Public Health.

  • Endorsed By: OneAmerica Votes, The Stranger, The Urbanist , King County Democrats, Seattle Education Association