Voters have many choices in Seattle’s City Council District 3, extending from Capitol Hill through the Central District to Mount Baker.
The best one is Egan Orion, a Capitol Hill community leader who revived and runs the annual PrideFest. Orion has proven leadership skills, plus valuable perspective on what it’s like for residents, nonprofits and small-business owners to interact with City Hall.
Orion recently was director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and remains a director of Broadway’s Business Improvement Area. He also has private work experience, including a stint as a Starbucks barista and seven years at Microsoft, where he worked his way up from a temp to full-time employee in the Windows XP era, before shifting to event production.
Like most every Seattle candidate, Orion’s priorities include leadership on climate change, transportation and housing affordability. He’s distinguished by his breadth of experience, community advocacy and commitment to making the council more collaborative and responsive to constituents.
Incumbent Kshama Sawant made her mark on the council, for better or worse, since she was elected in 2013.
Better was Sawant’s advocacy for Seattle’s higher minimum wage, but that was approved back in 2014.
Worse was her recent performance on homelessness. In the second half of last year, the social-services committee she chaired went AWOL, canceling numerous meetings. She finally fired up to challenge the appointment of an agency director who supports holding homeless-service providers accountable.
Then there’s the list of ethics complaints. They include recent complaints about Sawant’s city staffing being overly influenced by a national political group she leads. They were dismissed by the city’s ethics office, which said it’s up to voters to decide whether she should be removed from office.
Indeed, it’s time for new, constructive leadership in District 3.
Sawant’s Marxist radicalism is not needed to advance the cause of Seattle’s working people or move the council left — it’s pegged left, stacked with union activists and unlikely to veer right anytime soon. Instead, Sawant’s divisive rhetoric, self-aggrandizement and incessant use of council chambers as a soapbox are making the council less functional, less professional and less welcoming to many ordinary citizens.
City Hall’s entrenched political establishment is tiring of Sawant, with factions supporting Zach DeWolf, whose positions generally echo the council status quo. A former Service Employees International Union 775 employee now working for a county homeless agency, DeWolf is only midway through a term on the Seattle School Board. He convinced voters in 2017 that he was needed on that board and should finish that job before climbing the political ladder.
Orion rightly says District 3 needs a council member who is less dogmatic and committed to listening to all sides.
“It’s not us versus them; it’s just us,” he told this board.
Indeed. Vote Orion in District 3.