Neighborhood activist and onetime Seattle School Board candidate Kate Martin says she will run for mayor next year.

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Kate Martin, a neighborhood activist from Mayor Mike McGinn’s part of town, has announced she will join the race for mayor in 2013.

Martin, who lost a 2011 race for Seattle School Board, said she knows the mayor well from their work together on the Greenwood Community Council. She did not vote for him in 2009, she said, and they are nothing alike.

“I’m a planner, Mike’s a lawyer. We come from completely different perspectives,” she said. “The way we argue things, completely different.”

Martin, 55, owns a design business. She’s married to a chef and has two grown children.

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She made headlines in 2005 for building a skatepark in her front yard. In 2009, she got so angry at administrators at Roosevelt High School that police had to escort her from the building.

She ran for School Board on a platform of giving individual schools more freedom and establishing a mentorship program, but lost to incumbent Sherry Carr.

As mayor, she said, she would replace the police chief and hire someone the next generation could respect. And, she said, she would work to collaborate with the school system.

“I think everybody lobs bombs at the school district, but I really don’t see that they actually understand what the issues are and how all of us could actually contribute to the solutions,” she said.

She also wants to build more sidewalks and restructure the city’s utility rates so they are more fair to families. Currently, households that use more electricity pay a higher rate. That’s not fair to households of several people, she said.

Martin knows she’s up against a crowded field of well-known candidates.

Eleven months from the election, City Councilmember Tim Burgess, state Sen. Ed Murray and local businessman Charlie Staadecker have all announced campaigns.

City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck and former King County Executive Ron Sims are all thinking about it.

But Martin said she will be set apart by the fact that she’s not a career politician. So far she’s also the only woman in the race.

Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or On Twitter @EmilyHeffter.

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