What should this Seattle newbie know before Election Day? | KUOW News and Information

What should this Seattle newbie know before Election Day?

Jul 26, 2017

Picture a Metro bus of new people entering Seattle every day. That’s roughly how much the city is growing.*

One of those newbies is Shannon Hargis.

She moved here from Nashville, she’s queer, 28, and she has LOTS of opinions about Seattle.

Tell newcomers something they might not know that’s important to you this election. Use #HeyNewSeattleite on Twitter or Facebook to share your two cents. You can also email us

Shannon says she moved here two years ago to feel safer and put some distance between herself and the “almost cultish” Christian culture of the Bible belt. As a graphic designer, she saw opportunity in Seattle. Also: weather, camping. The Northwest-y stuff.  But a few things have surprised her about Seattle.

Not so gay-friendly?
Seeing the rainbow crosswalks on Capitol Hill, Shannon was thrilled. “I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life,” she gushed. But now she and her queer friends avoid the neighborhood.

“It is so not gay-friendly on weekends,” Shannon said. She said she and her friends have been harassed, had slurs yelled at them — her girlfriend was even followed by a man into a bathroom stall at a bar. “It was scary,” she said.

WTF stadiums?
“People are really damn sensitive about the stadium issue,” Shannon said. “I enjoy sports, but to me that’s not a big ticket item.”

And yet: One coworker told her that he was voting for a mayoral candidate based on what they said about the arena plan (he’s really against the KeyArena option because of traffic). Shannon said she was shocked that could be a deal breaker for someone.

Read more: What other newcomers said about Seattle

Already displaced
When Shannon and her girlfriend moved to Seattle, they lived in an apartment in Greenwood. At the end of their lease, she says, the landlord increased rent by $1,000 per month.

Now they rent a house in South Beacon Hill — almost Georgetown — and she commutes to Tacoma for work.

“Seattle is a beautiful city, but it has a lot of issues and I'm not sure how sustainable it is for me to live here long term,” she said of steep rental prices.

What she wants in a mayor
Shannon would like to see “someone who isn’t going to be pushed around. I would love a mayor who isn’t afraid of not being reelected.”

What would she import from her last home
Sweet tea. And a little Southern hospitality.  

“We’ve met super nice people here,” Shannon said, “but the majority of our friends are transplants. It’s been surprisingly difficult to make friends — actual meaningful friendships. I was plugged in in Nashville. I thought it would come easier to me here than it has. I understand the wariness of newcomers, but I wish it weren’t that way.

“Not all of us are moving here for Amazon.”

What she wants to hear from people who have lived here longer
What do you think we can do about affordable housing? How do you feel about Seattle’s proposed high-earners income tax? Safe-injection sites?

“I usually only talk politics with my friends, who are pretty similar to me,” Shannon said. “I’m curious to hear where other people stand.”

*Depending on its size, a Metro bus can hold 53-96 people. Roughly 56 new people are moving to Seattle every day.

Join the discussion: Tell a newcomer something they might not know about an issue that matters to you this election season. Use #HeyNewSeattleite on Twitter or Facebook to share your two cents. Or email us.