The Nov. 3 general election is important and exciting. Not only are there Asian American candidates running for offices in several cities and King County, there are issues directly impacting the Asian community. It is the first time after redistricting that voters will decide to elect some new blood to the Seattle City Council. Several King County races are interesting to watch.
Pam Banks vs. Kshama Sawant
Seattle City Council Position 3
It has been disappointing to see Kshama Sawant’s performance at the Seattle City Council for the past 20 months. Her tough leadership style doesn’t win colleagues. Humiliating her opponents in public is not necessarily a winning strategy. Negotiating and compromising behind the scenes can go a long way. She fails to recognize how to get things done. She needs five votes and teamwork at the council.
A City Council member should be equipped with skills and knowledge, and willingness to deal with the city’s many pressing problems.
Sawant’s opponent, Pam Banks, has shown collaborative skills, empathy and flexibility through her past experiences as Urban League CEO and former city employee, and understands that it is critical to work on diverse issues including transportation, police reform, utilities, public safety and development issues. Focusing on a limited agenda which Sawant follows — wage and housing issues — will not advance the city very far.
Lloyd Hara vs. John Wilson
King County Assessor race
King County Assessor Lloyd Hara has a surprise challenger this election. His former deputy, John Wilson, who was asked to resign, is running against Hara. Perhaps revenge? Hara has had a track record in public service for decades. He has been promoting efficiency, innovation and outreach for the office. Hara is visible in many communities, including Asians, other people of color and mainstream communities, and listens to communities’ concerns, while his opponent disappears (except when sending out his website message asking for money).
Julie Wise vs. Zach Hudgins
King County Director of Elections
Rep. Zach Hudgins, a candidate for King County Director of Elections, is an ally of the Asian community. Some of Hudgins’ supporters have spread the rumor that Hudgins’ opponent, Julie Wise, deputy director of elections, would not work hard on voters’ disparity, including Asian American voters, while Hudgins would if he gets elected. Not true.
On Oct. 1, the API Candidate Forum gave us a chance to listen to the debate between Hudgins and Wise. Wise said she is interested in improving voters’ disparity and reaching out to minority communities.
Both will bring rich experiences and backgrounds to the job. Either candidate will be qualified to be King County Director of Elections.
Fred Felleman vs. Marion Yoshino
Port of Seattle Commissioner Position 5
Fred Felleman, a marine biologist, is passionate about the Port of Seattle and the environment. He has consistently attended the commission’s meetings over the past few years. He knows the Port inside out.
Marion Yoshino, a former Normandy Park City Council member, is not Asian. If elected, she will be the only commissioner living in South King County. It’s important to have diverse representation on the five-member commission.
Both candidates are aware of the issues facing the port. Felleman might be more informed about the port issues because he attended the Port Commission’s meetings regularly. However, Yoshino’s collaborative leadership style is more likely to work well with others. (end)