Two qualified Asian Pacific Islander candidates will be running for Sally Clark’s recently vacated position on City Council. Clark’s last day was April 13 to serve in her new position as director of regional and community relations at the University of Washington.
The candidate requirement in this type of special situation is that the position be filled within 20 days of the elected council member’s vacancy. And it is also stipulated that the candidate can not apply for re-election in the next term.
Over 40 applicants applied for the seven-month interim position. Yep. As of press time, the number of candidates is 44.
It’s an interesting list of candidates.
The two API candidates are Sharon Maeda (see page one) and John Okamoto (see https://nwasianweekly.com/2015/04/okamoto-to-run-for-city-council).
But then there are also some serious contenders, including some who previously served on City Council. These include Peter Steinbrueck who chaired the first the Housing and Human Services Committee, then the Parks, Education, and Libraries Committee, and finally, the Urban Development and Planning Committee. Jan Drago, who chaired the Transportation Committee, founded Sustainable Seattle, and served on the Council for over 15 years. And then there are some interesting wild cards, including Howard Wright, whose family was responsible for constructing the Space Needle.
But our API candidates should also be considered serious contenders too. Maeda is currently Executive Director of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 21 and has served as a Community Outreach Officer for the U.S. Dept of Housing & Urban Development in Washington, D.C. John Okamoto was Executive Director of the Washington Education Association for six years. Our community is represented by some impressive candidates.
Why are there so many candidates for this short-term fill-in position? Of course there is the notion that all candidates will have their names out and can possibly create political waves for the future, but then there is also candidates’ sincere desire to work with the community and history with their neighborhoods, the power to really make a difference, even in such a short time. Both Maeda’s and Okamoto’s commitment, experience and history with their neighborhoods reflects that.
Even though it might be a tough race for such a short position, at least the Asian American community is represented with talented and qualified candidates. We deserve to have another Asian American on the City Council to represent us. (end)