2023 Seattle City Council Primary Endorsements

2023 Seattle City Council Primary Endorsements

It is once again election season and this year we are doing endorsements! Over the last two months we reached out to all 45 candidates running for Seattle City Council and we were able to hold fireside chats with 18 of them. We asked questions about housing and upzoning, transit and the light rail expansion, specific council related questions like first council bill and committee assignments, and finally what is their favorite Seattle park. After completing all the interviews, we held a two-hour endorsement meeting going through candidate websites and interview transcripts. Some endorsements were unanimous, some endorsements were split, but we believe these are the candidates that align with our values. Ballots for the primary are due Tuesday, August 1st by 8 PM.

District 1: Stephen Brown

When we talked to Brown, we were pretty impressed. He spoke about the need for more housing supply in the city and wanted to allow missing middle housing everywhere in the city. He also spoke about the need for more transit. While he does own an electric car, he uses transit get around everywhere in the city. He told us that he's pushed back against West Seattle residents who want to stop light rail expansion into West Seattle responding that transit is important and that even though it is imperfect we need to push forward to finish the plan. He would be interested in chairing the Transportation or Land Use committee but also would want to be on the Economic Development committee. Finally, he said that Discovery Park is his favorite park, but that Lincoln Park is his favorite park in his district.

District 2: Tanya Woo

Unfortunately, we weren't able to talk to anyone running in District 2, but we believe that Tanya Woo is the best person for the job. Her focus on wanting to improve the Chinatown-International District (CID) commendable. We are glad to see that she said yes to Seattle Times's question on allowing more single-family neighborhoods to be zoned to allow for denser housing/apartment buildings. We're disappointed that neither Woo nor Morales support the 4th Ave CID station and that both are a maybe on rent control but the thing that makes Woo the best candidate for this position is that she has a stronger stance on public safety.

District 3: Joy Hollingsworth

We talked to almost every candidate running in this race. Hollingsworth made the top of our list, but we thought there were multiple good options. She introduced herself as a third generation Seattleite who was born and raised in the Central District. She now lives in her grandmother's house that was converted into a triplex home. She understands the challenges older residents face with trying to convert their home into something denser. She wants to speed up the permitting process and create programs to help residents do conversions. She also spoke about the need to allow for density everywhere in the city instead of letting rich neighborhoods force new development out of their neighborhoods. On transit she spoke about the need to improve accessibility and the need to improve the feeling of safety when riding transit. Her favorite park is Volunteer Park, but she also likes Jefferson Park Golf Course since she grew up playing golf. We also really liked Efrain Hudnell and Alex Hudson on transit. When we spoke with Hudnell, he especially had very detailed ideas about ways to improve our transit system. Overall though we think that Hollingsworth is the best candidate for this position.

District 4: Maritza Rivera

We only talked to one person running in this district and they did not support densifying single-family neighborhoods, so they were out. From the rest of the candidates, we thought Rivera was the best pick. Unlike Artem who was a no on upzoning and Wilson who was a maybe, Rivera told the Seattle Times that she was a yes on density. Also, unlike Davis she is a no on rent control, which is still preempted by state law. We are unclear what specific remedies she wants to put in place to make the tax code more progressive, but she did tell the Seattle Times that she wanted to provide tax breaks for downtown businesses to help with post-pandemic recovery.

District 5: Nilu Jenks

We immediately liked Jenks once we started talking with her, she supports density, she wants to increase transit, she spoke about protected bike lanes and adding sidewalks, and she supports a land value tax! She does know that we would need state approval in order to make the change but that shows that she understands the realities of her position as a city councilmember. Just all of that put her way out in front of every other candidate in running in this district. While she really enjoys Discovery Park, she also appreciates how the community came together to create the Lake City Living Memorial Triangle.

District 6: Pete Hanning

We did not get the chance to talk to Hanning, but we think he is the best candidate for this position. We believe his business experience as well as his role as the executive director of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce will help improve relations with both small and large businesses in Seattle. District 6 was recently redistricted to include Magnolia. While Hanning told the Seattle Times that density should be allowed in single-family neighborhoods we hope that Hanning can push against residents of Magnolia that want to exclude new neighbors.

District 7: No endorsement

We talked to incumbent councilmember Andrew Lewis, Piroshky Piroshky owner Olga Sagan, and Amazon software engineer Wade Sowders. While Sowders was the only other candidate we talked to that supports a land value tax we do not think he has the experience needed for this district. Our conversation with Sagan went OK but she was vague on details for her policies save for ways to help small businesses. Our conversation with Lewis went well. As a councilmember he understands the realities of the position, he supports upzoning, he supports transit, his favorite park is Discovery Park, but during our endorsement meeting discussion some members were concerned about his ability to follow through on what he says he plans to do. We did not get to talk to Bob Kettle but considering he is on the on the Queen Anne Community Council, which one of our members called "the most NIMBY organization in Seattle", he was out. Out of all the candidates we liked Lewis the most, but we were split by just one vote not to endorse him.

Thanks for reading through our endorsements! Here's the full list of candidates we spoke to, their favorite park, and the questions we asked them. These questions were also sent to the rest of the candidate field but did not get any email responses to these questions.

District 1

  • Stephen Brown: Discovery Park and Lincoln Park
  • Jean Iannelli Craciun: Lincoln Park
  • Phil Tavel: Schmitz Preserve Park and Me-Kwa-Mooks Park

District 2

  • Spoke with no candidates

District 3

  • Alex Cooley: Judkins Park and Volunteer Park
  • Bobby Goodwin: Pratt Park and Volunteer Park
  • Ry Armstrong: Volunteer Park
  • Shobhit Agarwal: Victor Steinbrueck Park
  • Joy Hollingsworth: Volunteer Park and Jefferson Park Golf Course
  • Andrew Ashiofu: Volunteer Park
  • Efrain Hudnell: Cal Anderson Park

District 4

  • George Artem: Madison Park Beach and Pratt Park

District 5

  • Shane Macomber: Carkeek Park
  • Nilu Jenks: Discovery Park and Lake City Living Memorial Triangle
  • Tye Reed: Mineral Springs Park

District 6

  • Shea Wilson: Sunset Hill Park

District 7

  • Andrew Lewis: Discovery Park
  • Olga Sagan: Westlake Park
  • Wade Sowders: Denny Park


  1. The latest US Census data showed that Seattle’s population grew 2.4% last year to 749,000 people, making the city the fastest growing city among the 50 largest cities in the country once again. In 2030 how many people should live in Seattle and how do we get there?
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic presented the city with a lot of challenges but brought about new positive changes like outdoor dining patios and Healthy Streets. One current challenge is downtown revitalization with potential visions of more housing through office conversions. With Amazon returning to office, what direction would you like to see downtown to go in?
  3. If you are elected, you will get to vote on the 2024 “One Seattle” Comprehensive Plan which will dictate how Seattle plans the city for the next 10 years. Should the city keep the urban village model? Should building “missing middle housing” (duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes) be allowed to be built anywhere in the city?
  4. How do we fix Aurora Ave?
  5. Recent survey data from Commute Seattle showed that the use of public transportation dropped from a 46% share in 2019 to a 22% share in 2022. While some of this change may be due to the expansion in remote work, how do we improve our public transit system so that more people choose to use it?
  6. Sound Transit is currently making difficult decisions regarding the current light rail expansion plan. Has the expansion progressed in the right direction? What changes would you like to see to work towards building a world class light rail system in Seattle?
  7. What is the first council bill you want to sponsor?
  8. What committee do you want to chair? What are your goals for that committee?
  9. What problems is your district struggling with the most? How do you plan to address them? What are the best parts about your district?
  10. What is your most boring policy that you are excited about?
  11. What is your favorite Seattle park?