For years I have worked as a civic leader and policy expert to develop solutions to some of Seattle’s biggest challenges. I have worked both behind the scenes with city stakeholders and community advocates, and on the front lines with grassroots activists, to achieve sustainable and equitable development, protect public spaces and keep our government accountable to the people. But lately we have seen how politicians who answer to corporate lobbyists and special interests have undermined the healthy development of our city.
Seattle’s prosperity should provide shared opportunity and success for everyone, not just the wealthy elite. We can’t let the future of our vibrant, diverse city be compromised by the political insiders currently gaming City Hall.
I am running for Mayor to bring solutions forward — to listen, to learn and to take honest stock of the challenges facing our city, and to offer my expertise as an urban planner, engineer and civic leader in driving strategies to strike Seattle’s problems at their root cause, not just address the symptoms.
I look forward to talking with Seattleites — families, communities, activists, and businesses — to ensure everyone’s voice is heard on the future of our city, and develop solutions together. We all belong here, and have an equal right to help shape our shared future. As Mayor of Seattle my top priorities would include the following issues and initial framework of solutions.
Seattle has become one of the most expensive cities in the country. More than half of Seattle renters pay more than they can reasonably afford for housing. Too many are living on the edge, just one unexpected bill away from not making rent and facing eviction. Working people, people of color, LGBTQ people, young families and seniors are being pushed out of our city. That is not who we are.
People who work in Seattle should be able to afford to live in Seattle. If we don’t solve this problem now, in just a few years the majority of Seattle’s workforce — and our children — will be forced to live outside the city. We have the tools to start fixing this problem; we just need the collective will and courage to stop favoring the interests of profiteers and start putting people and families first.
Read my full vision on Affordable Housing here.
Traffic congestion is one of the biggest growing pains in our city. We need to address housing costs and transit access together. Working people are being pushed out of Seattle to chase affordable housing in places that are not served by transit, which leaves them isolated from their communities and services. Lack of transit options forces workers to drive, compounding congestion on our streets. In addition to improving transit options, we need to focus on safe streets, walkable neighborhoods, a basic bike network and a strong freight and delivery network. We need to be efficient with our limited street space and make alternatives to driving more viable for commuters.
We need to address the root causes of our city’s surge in homelessness to get ahead of this problem. We need a shared strategy, and a collaborative effort across agencies and service providers, to synergize the solutions we know can work to help people back into secure housing as efficiently as possible.
Our state’s trickle-down approach to economic growth benefits the super wealthy and large corporations at the expense of the rest of us. Over the last four years, City Hall has proposed several new property tax and sales tax increases, which have only compounded the fact that Seattle has one of the most regressive tax structures in the country. This means those at the top pay a much smaller share of their income in taxes than those at the very bottom. We in Seattle need to lead the charge to reverse this by holding the wealthiest among us accountable to pay their fair share, and investing in the public resources that support the well-being of everyone.
Seattle must stand for racial equity and the liberation of all people. But too many outcomes show we are missing the mark. White Seattleites need to come to grips with racial and economic inequality and the barriers that exist in our systems and institutions — and we all must work in partnership across race and class to dismantle them. Our city must step up its accountability to communities of color and disenfranchised communities, including transgender and gender diverse people. We must amplify the important work already done by Black leaders, Native leaders, immigrant leaders and people of color from the civil rights era through the Black Lives Matter movement and complete the transformation to true inclusion and power sharing.
When women are secure and self-reliant, families, businesses and communities thrive. Despite our shared progressive values, Seattle lags behind the rest of the developed world on gender pay equity. Women should not have to work more hours to make ends meet, stay in abusive relationships due to financial dependency, or continually fight to maintain access to health care.
Seattle is becoming more expensive and access to entrepreneurship is more and more out of reach. Homegrown Seattle businesses are being replaced by corporate chains. Increasing commercial rents, congested streets, inadequate transit and regulatory challenges make survival for small local business tougher and tougher. Small, locally owned businesses are the engine of an economy that builds local prosperity, access to opportunity and resilient communities. We need to protect and nurture and grow small businesses, and ensure a level playing field.
We in Seattle know that we all deserve a safe and healthy environment, no matter what your zip code or what size your paycheck. We know that fossil fuel corporations have used their political power to deny reality and block necessary solutions for too long. We know that climate leadership must come from cities and states, and that our actions today will make or break our future.
Cities like Seattle must move quickly to implement solutions to reduce carbon emissions, reduce pollution, and equitably prepare our region for the short and long-term effects of climate change. Our city stood up to Shell’s Arctic drilling rig and I know our city can be a national leader in tackling climate change and decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels. We have the tools, the know-how and the willpower.
Read my full vision on Climate leadership here.