Egan Orion said he is running for Seattle City Council because the current member is rarely seen in District 3.
"Where is Kshama Sawant? he said multiple times, during a campaign kickoff speech on the corner of Broadway on Capitol Hill. "The citizens of District 3 deserve someone who builds bridges, not burn them."
Orion is the head of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and Seattle PrideFest. He said he's drawn to action by a perceived absence of Sawant. Orion said her lack of visibility is a problem given community issues like homelessness and housing. Those have become significant issues of interest to residents in District 3, which includes Capitol Hill, Leschi, Madrona, Madison Park and the Central District.
Orion is the latest candidate seeking to unseat the polarizing incumbent. Sawant's council career has been marked by the debate over $15 an hour minimum wage, and has evolved into protecting renters rights, issues near and dear to the young, high density population centers of the district. But she's also suffered recent political defeats, including her push for a head tax, and stalling over the appointment of a new Human Services Director.
Her opponents, like Orion, also point to the small number of donors within her district to the Sawant re-election campaign as a reference point. "Her tenure at city hall has been one of dysfunction," he said.
Orion called the head tax "half baked," but said he believes there is room for a progressive tax increase that does not impact small businesses. He also acknowledges he was for safe consumption sites, more low barrier shelters, and perhaps offering more incentives to developers to revitalize empty homes and apartments. He also believes that technology could better help analyze, and reassess the city's handling of the homeless crisis.
"Think of the efficiencies we could create by using the right technologies for some of the most perplexing issues we face," Orion said.
Logan Bowers, a cannibus entrepeneur, has raised the most money of any of Sawant's opponents. The official candidate filing period is next month, although candidates are free to raise money and campaign now.