It is officially the middle of declare your candidacy for City Council season, and I’m sure many more are on the way. Open seats tend to draw a lot more candidates than races with an incumbent, and Districts 1, 3, 4 and 5 are all open seats this year. The August primary ballot could be a long one.
While Seattle Bike Blog won’t have a post about every new candidate, a particularly notable candidate entered the District 3 race yesterday: Transportation Choices Coalition Executive Director Alex Hudson. Before going to TCC, Hudson was Director of the First Hill Improvement Association and played a major role in negotiating the “Community Package” of investments as part of the Convention Center expansion project. That package included funding a series of protected bike lanes, including sections of Pike and Pine Streets as well as the currently-under-construction 8th Ave project.
Hudson is also proudly car-free, which is always a big plus in my book. When is the last time we had a fully car-free Councilmember? And through her work at TCC, she is one of the leaders of the current effort to decriminalize so-called “jaywalking” statewide.
This is not an endorsement of Hudson. It is far too early for that. Her opponents so far include Ry Armstrong, Andrew Ashiofu and Joy Hollingsworth, but that list will likely grow quickly. Candidates also need time to put together their transportation platforms, especially if they don’t come from the transportation advocacy world like Hudson (though Ashiofu’s campaign website already includes calls for bike lanes among other safety and multimodal priorities as well as noting support for the Move All Seattle Sustainably Coalition). Additionally, Seattle Bike Blog endorsements are not just based solely on whether we agree with a candidate. They also need to demonstrate the ability to lead an effective campaign and grow a supporter base, skills needed both to win an election and to be effective at passing bold policies once in office.
However, it is great news that transit and safe streets will necessarily be a significant part of the Council 3 race now that Hudson’s presence all but forces the issue. As we noted in our post about outgoing Councilmember Kshama Sawant, District 3 always goes the hardest for local transportation measures, including the Move Seattle Levy in 2015 and all the Metro and Sound Transit votes. Bold transportation measures that prioritize walking, biking and transit win by overwhelming landslides in District 3, a fact candidates would be wise to note. With the Move Seattle Levy expiring at the end of 2024, the new City Council will play a major role in determining the scale and priorities of the replacement funding package that will likely go to voters at the end of next year. We will be looking for someone who wants to go as big and bold on transportation funding as possible.