City of Seattle

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Welcome to the Fuse Progressive Voters Guide to the 2021 primary election! The Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. You can learn about our partners and decision-making process here. Please share this guide with your friends and family!

King County Ballot Measures

King County Proposition #1

  • VOTE APPROVED
    Vote to APPROVE Best Starts For Kids
  • King County Proposition 1 offers the chance for voters to renew the Best Starts for Kids levy and maintain and expand effective programs that put our children and youth on a path toward lifelong success.

    First approved by voters in 2015 and passed unanimously by the King County Council, the “Regular Property Tax Levy for Children, Youth, Families and Communities” will maintain critical funding for homelessness prevention, prenatal resources, social and emotional youth development programs, and more. Research has shown that the kind of prevention and early engagement funded by Best Starts is the most effective, and least expensive, way to ensure positive outcomes for our kids and community.

    Proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine, the Best Starts for Kids program generates millions of dollars to provide children and youth in King County the chance to be healthy, happy, and safe. Proposition 1 would renew and expand services by increasing the levy from 14 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to 19 cents. This increase will allow the county to build upon the program's proven successes including Prenatal-5 family support, youth and family homelessness services, and community-driven partnerships through Communities of Opportunity that address emotional growth. It will also help families access affordable child care and begin to ensure child care workers earn a living wage. 

    Vote to approve King County Prop. 1 to renew a proven investment in the Best Starts for Kids program’s long-term vision to guarantee that all kids and families living in King County can not only meet their basic needs but thrive.

    King County, Proposition 1 Best Starts

    King County Proposition 1 offers the chance for voters to renew the Best Starts for Kids levy and maintain and expand effective programs that put our children and youth on a path toward lifelong success.

King County

King County Executive

  • Non-Partisan
  • Evergreen Future
  • King County Executive Dow Constantine has been a strong and effective leader for economic justice, workers, and climate action throughout his career. As a state legislator, on the King County Council, and as King County Executive, Constantine has fought for and delivered transportation and transit solutions, action on climate, improvements in public health, and an efficiently run government.

    Under his leadership, King County has expanded Metro transit service, improved oil safety rules, and created one of the best urban forestry programs in the nation. Constantine also led efforts to pass Best Starts for Kids, a model initiative that increases access to healthy food, affordable housing, and public health services for many of King County's most vulnerable children.

    Constantine is now running for a fourth term as King County Executive to build on a pandemic recovery that puts people first and creates inclusive communities. If he is re-elected, one of Constantine's priorities will be to reform the King County Sheriff's Office. During our interview, he expressed his frustration at the challenges of getting answers or reforms out of the current independent sheriff's office. As the county shifts to an executive-appointed sheriff, which voters approved last fall, Constantine said he will push for more transparency and demand that officers wear body cameras.

    In addition, Constantine is hoping to continue and expand his efforts to open more hotels to house homeless residents of King County. He expressed pride in a new zero-emissions, low-income housing development in Renton and hopes to expand that model across the county.

    Constantine has faced some criticism during his tenure around the building of the $242 million King County Youth Detention Center, which voters approved in 2012 and opened in 2018. During the protests for racial justice last summer, Constantine announced his support for transitioning the jail away from holding youth by 2025.

    Constantine has earned overwhelming support from our Progressive Voters Guide partner organizations as well as elected and community leaders. He is the best choice in this race.

    Dow Constantine

    King County Executive Dow Constantine has been a strong and effective leader for economic justice, workers, and climate action throughout his career.

  • 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.

Other Candidates

There are three other candidates in this race: Johnathon Crines, Bill Hirt, and Goodspace Guy. Crines talked about an equitable economic recovery from the pandemic and other progressive priorities in his voters' pamphlet statement but does not appear to have a website or any other campaign information available. Hirt is a perennial candidate with a single-issue platform of opposing light rail. Goodspace Guy, another perennial candidate, supports capitalism and colonizing orbital space. 

Seattle Mayor

Seattle Mayor

  • Evergreen Future
  • Born and raised in a migrant farm working family in central Washington, González has a background as an award-winning civil rights attorney that provides a foundation for her leadership in advocating for working families and marginalized communities. Lorena González is a Seattle City Council member and the current council president. As one of the city’s leaders through times of prosperity and times of hardship, González is committed to making the city of Seattle a place where all can thrive. The unanimous vote to make her the city council president in early 2020 speaks to her ability to lead collaboratively and make bold progressive change.

    González is one of Seattle’s three representatives on the King County Regional Homelessness Authority. She wants to push the city further than the current mayor was willing to go when it comes to building more permanent supportive housing.

     

    González would focus on building short- and long-term housing because the city needs to triple permanent affordable housing to meet everyone’s needs. She pledges to quickly scale up Seattle’s shelter system from the mayor’s office, which would include options such as tiny villages and leveraging hotels and motels. She states that she would increase permanent, supportive housing and include additional funds for mental, behavioral, and substance use services.

    González has played a lead role in existing police reform efforts by pivoting some law enforcement funding to community-led efforts. She believes that as mayor, she could do even more to reverse the legacy of harm of police violence in the city, especially for communities of color, the homeless, and in communities with lower-than-average incomes. In our interview, González noted that Seattle’s police guild has disproportionate power at the negotiating table when it comes to holding officers accountable. The mayor has much more leverage than the council in negotiating a better contract, and if she is elected she will push harder than Mayor Durkan to increase accountability for officers and the department.

    Equitable economic recovery from COVID is a high priority for the councilmember. She vows to make sure that neighborhood small businesses, many of which are owned by people of color, receive equitable shares of recovery assistance. Other parts of her agenda seek to meet the needs of working families. For example, she wants to raise standards in the gig economy by ending sub-minimum wages and establish incentives for employee ownership in businesses. Improvements to childcare access, bike and pedestrian paths, and building on renter protections round out some of her other priorities for improving the lives of everyone in the community.

     

    On issues of the climate, González wants to partner with Seattle for A Green New Deal to revitalize and expand the local green economy. She states that by actively retrofitting homes and modernizing industrial infrastructure, we can provide thousands of stable, high-quality jobs in the city.

    González’s experience leaves her well-positioned to hit the ground running. Her advocacy and support for workers has earned her the trust of many labor unions and advocacy groups. She has a track record of working well with her colleagues to build consensus on the city’s most pressing issues. For her support for our partners and her forward-thinking platform, we recommend González for mayor of Seattle.

     

    Lorena González

    Born and raised in a migrant farm working family in central Washington, González has a background as an award-winning civil rights attorney that provides a foundation for her leadership in advocating for working families and marginalized communities.

  • 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.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Jessyn Farrell is a former state legislator and the former executive director of Transportation Choices Coalition. As a single mom of three children, Farrell is focused on affordability in the city for childcare and housing, as well as the gap in wealth between white and Black residents. Recently, she played a lead role with Washington’s COVID economy recovery task force. 

    Farrell calls her housing plan “Sound Transit 3 for Housing” to reflect the scale of her proposal. This plan aims to meet the city’s need of 653,000 more units of housing, including 70,000 units of affordable housing, much of that within walking distance of transportation and amenities. She notes that the city’s history of racial discrimination in housing has created disparities in housing, wealth, and access to services for Black families in the city, and believes her plan addresses these gaps. Like González, Echohawk, and Houston, Farrell supports changing the city's building codes to increase density and affordable housing in neighborhoods with exclusively single-family homes.

    Farrell wants to revamp our crisis response system so that armed officers aren’t responding to everything from mental health crises to transit fare enforcement. Her police reform plan focuses on changing laws so that minor offenses like jaywalking and small drug possession are no longer criminal. Furthermore, Farrell believes that the 2018 Seattle Police Officers Guild contract gave away too many of the mechanisms for accountability. As such, she would seek to renegotiate these and other standards for officer conduct. Like other candidates in the race, the former legislator acknowledges that over-policing has a disproportionate impact on low-income people and people of color, and wants to scale up violence prevention programs like Community Passageways.

    Farrell has an extensive set of climate action plans that envision the city’s future on a greener economy and infrastructure. She wants to enact a Green Jobs Bill of Rights that brings higher-than-minimum wages, ensures city contracts with women, veteran, and minority-owned businesses, and applies portable benefits to gig work. She will also prioritize legalizing affirmative action as well as updating the city’s building codes to fall in line with international carbon reduction standards.

    Farrell was an effective progressive legislator during her time in Olympia. She is the only candidate in the race who has served in the state legislature and states that her experience working at the state and local level will be invaluable for a city leader. She's a good choice if you're looking for someone with legislative experience and statewide leadership on paid family leave, mass transit, and climate change.

    Jessyn Farrell

    Jessyn Farrell is a former state legislator and the former executive director of Transportation Choices Coalition.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Andrew Grant Houston is an architect, housing activist, and interim policy manager in Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda’s office. He is running on a very detailed, transformative platform that aims to empower workers, invest in sustainable architecture, and build housing at all income levels. As a queer, Black, and Latino man, Houston seeks to highlight the struggles of communities in the city who have been marginalized and displaced.

    One of the core tenets of Houston’s housing policy is a “rising tide of housing” - providing shelter that’s urgently needed now and building towards the future. He is aiming for the construction of 2,500 tiny homes by 2022 to cover the city’s shelter gap. He wants to simplify and update the city's Mandatory Housing Affordability plan in order to bring more mixed-income housing into more expensive neighborhoods. Also, he supports both commercial and residential rent control so that people can stay in their homes and maintain small businesses even as the cost of living rises.

    Houston is a member of King County Equity Now, a coalition that is pushing to defund and redirect law enforcement funding by 50 percent. He intends to hold himself accountable to this ask, stating that criminalizing poverty is expensive, traumatic for residents, and ultimately unhelpful for the city. To back up his position, he cites that the city has doubled the police budget in the last decade and crime has remained the same. Houston wants to see those funds go into public safety policies that the community has asked for, including an official mutual aid program, expansion of the public safety coordinator program, and a pilot for universal basic income, which would provide $1,000 a month for 2,500 people to meet their basic needs. His policies would represent the biggest shift in funding and operation from today’s police department compared to other candidates.

    As a board member of Futurewise, which promotes concentrating urban growth around transit, jobs, and services, Houston has big plans for the city’s transportation sector. He wants to restore bus service, implement two plans for the movement of people as well as the movement of freight, and prioritize RapidRide bus lanes. He plans to pay for his plan strategy with a “just transition" income tax of 1 percent to make serious investments in the city’s future.

    Houston’s campaign has the urgency, direction, and detail that many residents are looking for after a tumultuous year. For voters looking to upend the status quo and push for highly progressive policy formed in part by the community, Houston is a good choice.

    Andrew Grant Houston

    Andrew Grant Houston is an architect, housing activist, and interim policy manager in Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda’s office.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Bruce Harrell is a lawyer who served on the Seattle City Council from 2007 to 2019 and also briefly acted as Mayor in 2017. As a Black and Japanese candidate who has worked in both the public and private sector, Harrell is running a campaign focused on rebuilding relationships in city hall and in the community.

    Harrell intends to approach homelessness with a model of nonprofit partnership with the city. He would create a program where residents could make tax-deductible donations to support homelessness outreach and he would lead a campaign to increase philanthropic support for supportive housing. He would also push the majority of funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act towards permanent housing options through hotels and tiny homes. As of mid-June, he is the only definite supporter among the leading mayoral candidates of the Compassion Seattle Charter Amendment, which would mandate the building of more affordable housing and expand sweeps of homeless encampments. The measure also lines up with his views on leveraging private and philanthropic funding for housing and homelessness.

    In his previous service on the city council, Harrell introduced “ban the box” legislation that prohibited employers from asking applicants about past legal history. In addition, Harrell led early efforts to require officers to wear body cameras and prohibit the police department’s use of drones in 2011.


    Harrell is critical of the movement to defund police but does support increasing funding for non-law enforcement community wellness efforts. Especially compared to the other leading candidates in the race, he seems committed to taking on police reform personally, stating that he would lead the Seattle Police Department in a culture change. The former council member intends to personally hire officers looking to be “change agents” and will not be afraid to critique officers. Harrell says that he will use data from the Race and Data Initiative to address discrimination in housing, policing, and more. He also pledges to make every officer watch all 8 minutes and 46 seconds of George Floyd’s murder and sign a voluntary pledge against inhumane treatment. Similar to other candidates, he believes that funding for de-escalation, mental health services, and public education on when to call 911 should be provided. His policies might represent the least departure from the current operation of today’s police department among the leading candidates.

    Similar to his plan on housing, Harrell intends to seek the support of foundations and the private sector to make health service programs more affordable. While he supports focusing development around light rail stations, he has not made any commitments on changing the zoning for affordable housing. Harrell was a yes vote for the Seattle Green New Deal in 2019 and intends to continue his “road diet” program that seeks to develop better bike and pedestrian paths and transit access.

    Like González, Harrell has served on the Seattle City Council and has a record of his work and priorities in the city. If you're looking for a blunt candidate with experience and a track record in City Hall, Harrell is a good choice.

    Bruce Harrell

    Bruce Harrell is a lawyer who served on the Seattle City Council from 2007 to 2019 and also briefly acted as Mayor in 2017.

Other Candidates

There are a few other prominent candidates in the Seattle mayor's race. Read below for more details on these candidates.

Deputy Mayor Casey Sixkiller was appointed to this role by Mayor Durkan in 2020. He was previously the chief operating officer of King County. Sixkiller has drawn some criticism for his backing of Mayor Durkan's reluctance to open safer shelters for the homeless during the pandemic, as well as his lobbying with the oil industry.

As an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Sixkiller has reached the highest-ranked political office that an Indigenous person has ever reached in the City of Seattle.

Lance Randall is a prominent political strategist and the interim director of SEED Seattle (SouthEast Effective Development), an organization that builds partnerships and markets investments into affordable housing and arts projects throughout the area. Randall previously spent 8 years serving as the Business Relations Manager for Seattle’s Office of Economic Development. He is running with a focus on the economy which informs his platform that includes mitigating climate change, police reform, and public safety, investing in arts and culture, addressing housing and homelessness, and post-pandemic economic recovery.

With these progressive issues in mind, Randall hopes to both revitalize Seattle and act on urgent reform efforts to better the quality of life for all city residents. Among other specific ideas, he proposes utilizing federal funds to build housing options for those facing homelessness, implementing greater accountability measures for the Seattle Police Department, creating a local grant program for small businesses recovering from the pandemic, and acting to make municipal broadband available in Seattle. Drawing on his background in policy spaces and economic expertise, Randall is pushing a relatively progressive platform in this race.

A self-described centrist, Art Langlie is running for mayor as a political outsider who works in the private sector as the executive vice president of Holmes Electric. Langlie’s campaign is built on a critique of how Seattle municipal politics have worked so far. He believes that his lack of direct elected experience allows him to better address the issues that the city faces. Langlie identifies homelessness and public safety as his campaign priorities. Despite substantial public support for serious police reform, Langlie only offers vague ideas for holding the Seattle Police Department accountable and has brushed off the defund movement as a “soundbite.” Langlie is not a progressive candidate and has not demonstrated experience that would make him an effective leader.

Seattle City Attorney

Seattle City Attorney

  • Evergreen Future
  • Incumbent Pete Holmes is running for re-election to be the Seattle City Attorney. Holmes was first elected in 2009 and has had a progressive track record in office. He is the former chair of the Office of Police Accountability Review Board and spent 25 years working in business litigation before his public service. His highlights include successfully defending the city's hazard pay law, working to decriminalize marijuana, and preventing the incarceration of Washington residents for marijuana use. Holmes also worked to reduce prosecutions for people driving with their license suspended due to lack of payment and opposed mandatory deportation for immigrants in the legal system.

    If re-elected, Holmes has a progressive vision for the role of city attorney in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the movement for racial justice. His priorities include improving police accountability, gun safety, and creating a level playing field in our legal system and city. To achieve these goals, Holmes proposes passing stronger gun laws, reducing excessive force on the part of the Seattle Police Department, vacating marijuana charges, and keeping people housed post-pandemic, among other policies.

    Holmes' track record in office has earned him the support of our partner organizations, as well as progressive local leaders including City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, and Attorney General Bob Ferguson. He's a good choice to continue building upon the reforms he has spearheaded as city attorney over the last 12 years.

    Pete Holmes

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

    Incumbent Pete Holmes is running for re-election to be the Seattle City Attorney. Holmes was first elected in 2009 and has had a progressive track record in office.

  • 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.

Other Candidates

Ann Davison (whose married name is Sattler) is an attorney and legal consultant with her own small business. Previously, Davison ran for Seattle City Council in 2019 and then again in 2020 as a Republican for Lieutenant Governor, when she did not advance past the primary.

Last year, during one of the worst economic crises that this region has ever faced, she used her campaign to criticize Democrats for their economic policy which at the time included COVID-19 relief and balancing the state’s upside-down tax code. In this race, she is challenging progressive candidates in order to oppose her challengers’ plans to reduce Washington’s mass incarceration problem and utilize alternatives to make Seattle safer.

Seattle City Council

Seattle City Council, Position #8

Other Candidates

Mosqueda faces a large number of unimpressive challengers.

Alex Tsimerman is a perennial candidate who does not have a serious platform. George Freeman does not have any campaign information available as of mid-July. Kate Martin’s platform is neither substantial nor progressive, and she fails to offer any meaningful response to the community’s calls for reforms to our public safety approaches.

Alexander White is a small business owner whose campaign platform includes supporting first responders but does not mention any of the desperately needed police accountability measures the community has been calling for. Jordan Elizabeth Fisher is a former mortgage lender who is running to bring her experience in mortgage lending to solving Seattle’s homelessness and affordable housing crises. Bobby Lindsey Miller is a bartender who is running on a platform including relief for landlords and business owners, but without mentioning relief for the city’s renters.

Brian Fahey is a property management engineering manager whose platform includes tying education funding to a permanent, progressive business & occupation tax. Jesse James is a musician and restaurant worker who founded the Players Party comprised of people including musicians and small business owners. Kenneth Wilson owns Integrity Structural Engineering and wants to bring his perspective on infrastructure to the council, but his platform is not progressive. Paul Glumaz is also not running on a progressive platform.

Seattle City Council, Position #9

  • 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.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Brianna Thomas is the chief of staff for Seattle City Council President and current Position 9 Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez. Previously, she led the effort to bring democracy vouchers to Seattle through the Honest Elections Initiative and worked as a legislative aide for state Senator Bob Hasegawa. She also worked on the “Yes for SeaTac” campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 and joined Gonzalez’s team in 2015.

    Thomas’s campaign platform is impressively detailed. She wants to prioritize criminal justice reforms like ending the system of cash bail, increased police accountability measures, and sending mental health professionals in the place of armed police officers. Support for small businesses including investing in businesses owned, operated, and staffed by Black, brown, and Indigenous people, and adopting new, affordable housing options are also key to Thomas’s campaign. 

    In our interview, she emphasized her commitment to fixing the city's infrastructure. She wants to draw upon the connections she’s built with state and federal agencies to maximize outside funding for local roads and bridges. More broadly, she demonstrated her deep knowledge of policy details and how to make government work from her time working for the council. 

    Brianna Thomas

    Brianna Thomas is the chief of staff for Seattle City Council President and current Position 9 Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez.

Other Candidates

Also in this race are Sara Nelson, Corey Eichner, Xtian Gunther, Rebecca Williamson, and Lindsay McHaffie. 

Nelson is the co-founder and owner of Fremont Brewing. She wants to bring her experience as a small business owner to the council and refocus the city on delivering basic services efficiently. However, Nelson disagrees with the community-supported idea that more funding is needed for homelessness services and affordable housing. In addition, she believes the culture at the Seattle Police Department can be changed through simply "adequately training" officers, rather than the deeper reforms called for by many community leaders.

There are several additional candidates in this race. Eichner is an assistant principal at Lincoln High School. Gunther is a musician with progressive values who wants to create a public utility to build affordable public housing. Williamson is a member of the Socialist Workers Party and Walmart employee. McHaffie is a small business owner and a veteran. She does not have a campaign website. 

Seattle School District

Seattle School Board, DIrector, District #4

  • 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.
  • Vivian Song Maritz is a small business owner, PTSA president, member of the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council, and mother of three students in Seattle Public Schools. As the daughter of immigrants and as an Asian American with a hearing disability, Maritz emphasizes the significant impact public schools had on her life.

    Maritz is running to bring her 15 years of private sector experience in finance and operations to the school board. If elected, she would focus on delivering mental health support as an essential service for students, achieving progress on inclusion in the classroom and school system broadly, securing efficient and accessible transportation for students, and expanding the services and quality of education for disabled students. She would also like to reduce the focus on standardized testing and continue, but reform, the option school program, which allows students to apply to attend schools outside their neighborhood. She is also committed to applying anti-racist principles to governance and school policies.

    In this tight race, Maritz has faced some criticism regarding both her involvement in a Facebook group that pushed reopen schools and her recent move into District 4. After extensive research, we did not find either criticism to be compelling. During our interview, Maritz stated that she supported the Seattle Education Association's three priorities at the time and she advocated for vaccinating teachers earlier to re-open schools safely. 

    As for her move, Maritz was candid about relocating to District 4 to run for office. She emphasized that her children already attend an option school alongside many students from District 4 and her family had already been spending a lot of time in the area. This was not a concern for us given her previous connection to the district and the short move from Capitol Hill.

    Maritz is a good choice if you are looking for a candidate who will bring financial management expertise and increased representation to the Seattle School Board. 

    Vivian Song Maritz

    Vivian Song Maritz is a small business owner, PTSA president, member of the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council, and mother of three students in Seattle Public Schools.

  • Endorsed By: OneAmerica Votes, The Stranger , Womxn of Color in Education, the 36th and 43rd Legislative District Democrats.
Other Candidates

Also in this race are Herb Camet, Jr. and Laura Marie Rivera. Herb Camet, Jr. is a former school principal and ESL teacher. Some of his campaign ideas in this race include critically reviewing current school services with an eye for cutting programs and vowing to visit every school in person. He believes he is uniquely qualified because he is unattached to a political party, despite the fact that none of his opponents are running as partisan candidates.

Laura Marie Rivera is an educator, active union member, and board member for the Coe Elementary PTA. Rivera also serves as the local chair of the National PTA’s Reflections Art Competition and on the board of Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks. She is running to bring transparency, opportunity, and equity to the school system.

Seattle School Board, Director, District #5

  • 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