Fremont Brewing co-founder Sara Nelson has jumped into the race to replace retiring Seattle Councilmember Tim Burgess.
Nelson announced her bid Thursday morning, joining a list of ten candidates who have already filed, including former council candidate and housing activist Jon Grant and labor leader Teresa Mosqueda, political director for the Washington State Labor Council.
Nelson, a first-time candidate, spent ten years working at city hall under former Councilmember Richard Conlin, who was defeated in 2013 by Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
“What distinguishes me is my experience in government and my perspective as a small business owner, and that’s important because small businesses are the fabric of our neighborhoods,” Nelson said. “We create jobs and support the economy, and it’s important that council supports small business and helps us thrive.”
“The business community, myself included, would like to see the conversation in Seattle shifting toward being more positive about the contributions of business in general,” Nelson continued. “When there are well-intentioned proposals that come from Seattle, if business is not at the table, really talking about the nitty gritty application and impacts of some of these, mostly labor regulations, it’s going to create problems downstream.”
Nelson, who has has a Ph.D. in anthropology from UW, says she would also like to see more green business incentives, as well as think of new ways to manage but welcome city growth.
“We’re changing, and I think change is good. We just have to do it well, and maintain the quality of life that Seattle already has,” said Nelson. “To me, that means, let’s take of basic services first, parks, community centers, public safety. Those things may not be sexy, but they’re important to city government, and we need to make sure we’re spending limited tax dollars well, and then creating an environment where there’s opportunity for all.”
With just weeks to go until the mid-May filing deadline, the other candidates in the race have already begun racking up endorsements and donations.
Mosqueda, a public health and worker advocate, has accrued support from more than two dozen local unions, as well as state lawmakers and current council members Sally Bagshaw, Lorena Gonzalez and Rob Johnson.
Jon Grant currently leads in money raised at nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions. Teresa Mosqueda comes in second with more than $72,000. Both Grant and Mosqueda opted into the city’s new democracy voucher program, a campaign finance reform initiative passed in 2015.
A spokesman for Nelson says she does not plan to run using democracy vouchers.
Related: Track the money here
The position eight council race is one of two at-large seats up for re-election this season.
The at-large races attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars in both individual donations and outside spending, during the last election cycle in 2015.
The Seattle Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE) and the Union-backed Political Action Committees emerged as some of the key funders of independent spending that year.
The first test for the new batch of candidates this year will be the August primary which will narrow the field to two candidates.
KING 5 will be conducting extended interviews with the frontrunners in the race in the coming weeks.
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