Sheley Secrest, a local NAACP leader, is running for Position 8 on the City Council this year. She’s one of five registered candidates.
Sheley Secrest, a leader in the Seattle King County NAACP, chose Martin Luther King Jr. Day to launch a campaign for Seattle City Council.
The 42-year-old lawyer will run this year for Position 8, a citywide seat currently held by Tim Burgess.
Burgess announced last month that he would not seek re-election in 2017.
In an interview Tuesday, Secrest said she chose MLK Jr. Day to start her campaign because she aims to address disparities in areas such as income and education, and discrimination.
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The Rainier Valley resident said she opposes Mayor Ed Murray’s plan to hire many more police officers and King County’s plan to build a new youth-detention center in the Central Area.
“I’m running because we need jobs, not jails,” Secrest said. “You want to know the solution to crime? It’s a job … What we need is more young people with jobs.”
Secrest said the city needs to make it easier for people with criminal records to secure housing and better enforce anti-discrimination laws in the housing market.
She’s a vice president of the local NAACP, where she coordinates projects on enforcing Seattle’s labor laws and combating gentrification. She said she helped the NAACP push for the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue police reform in the city.
Secrest previously worked for The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. She served on the advisory committee for a state plan to close the achievement gap for African American students and on the review board for the Seattle Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability.
In 2015, she was a finalist to temporarily fill a City Council seat vacated by Sally Clark, who had stepped down to take a job at the University of Washington.
At the time, she was questioned about a suspension from the Washington State Bar Association.
In a news release Monday, she highlighted support from Ian Eisenberg, the provocative personality behind Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop in the Central Area.
Secrest said she “didn’t see eye to eye” with Eisenberg about him locating the marijuana store next to a church on the corner of 23rd Avenue and East Union Street.
“But I want to show the significance of strengthening our small businesses,” she said. “Finding common ground is key … We both want to see the community grow in ways in which everyone benefits.”
Secrest is one of several candidates running for Position 8. First out of the gate was housing activist Jon Grant, who lost to Burgess in 2015.
Other hopefuls registered with the Seattle elections commission include Roger Kluck, Rudy Pantoja and Mac McGregor.
Ryan Asbert, who the elections commission lists as running for an as-yet-undetermined seat, is also running for Position 8, according to Geekwire. Asbert is promising to make all of his council decisions based on an app allowing his constituents to vote on each issue.
Secrest said her campaign will stand out by including the voices of people not normally engaged in politics. She said she intends to participate in the city’s new “democracy vouchers” program.