Seattle City Council Primary 2013

Four incumbents on the Seattle City Council are up for re-election this year, but only two of them face a fight in the primary.

Freshman Councilmember Mike O'Brien is being challenged by businessman Albert Shen and artist David Ishii. Veteran Councilmember Richard Conlin is facing Socialist Alternative Party candidate Kshama Sawant and Amazon manager Brian Carver.

KUOW's Deborah Wang sat down with all six candidates to talk about their campaigns and why they want to serve on the Seattle City Council.

Seattle City Council Position 2
8:58 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Amazon Manager Brian Carver Aims To Unseat Seattle City Council Veteran

Seattle City Council candidate Brian Carver
KUOW Photo

Brian Carver is one of two candidates challenging 16-year incumbent Richard Conlin in the August 6 primary. The other is Socialist Alternative Party candidate Kshama Sawant.

Carver holds the title principle product manager at Amazon's Kindle direct publishing division. He has an MBA and an engineering master's degree from the University of Washington.

Carver ran unsuccessfully for an open City Council seat in 2009. He's been a local Democratic Party activist in the 43rd Legislative District. He says improving the city's schools is his top priority.

On the web:

Brian Carver's campaign website

Seattle City Council Position 2
8:57 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Richard Conlin Seeks Fifth Term On Seattle City Council

Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Richard Conlin is the incumbent in Position 2 of the Seattle City Council. He's being challenged in the primary by Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant and Amazon manager Brian Carver.

Conlin was first elected to the council in 1997. He served as council president in 2008-2009 and had a public dust-up with Mayor Mike McGinn over the building of the downtown tunnel.

Recently, Conlin presided over a massive re-zoning of the city's South Lake Union neighborhood, he led the effort to pass a $123 million library levy, and he spearheaded the city's "Happiness Initiative." Conlin cast  the sole vote against an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers. He was one of two members who voted against using city funds to build a basketball and hockey arena in SODO.

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Seattle City Council Position 2
8:56 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Tax The Rich, Says Seattle City Council Candidate Kshama Sawant

Seattle City Council Candidate Kshama Sawant
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Kshama Sawant is a Socialist Alternative Party candidate who is challenging incumbent Richard Conlin for Seattle City Council Position 2. The other candidate in the race is Amazon employee Brian Carver.

Sawant teaches economics at Seattle Central Community College. She has been active in the Occupy Seattle Movement. Last year, she ran for state House of Representatives against Democrat and long-time House Majority Leader Frank Chopp. She received 29 percent of the vote, which her campaign touted as the highest vote for a socialist candidate in decades.

Sawant is calling for a $15 minimum wage (it's currently $9.19 in Washington state) and a "millionaires' tax" to raise money for transit, education and social services.

On the web:

Seattle City Council Position 8
8:56 am
Tue July 16, 2013

City Council Candidate David Ishii: Seattle Needs A Search Engine

David Ishii is a retired postal worker who makes his living as an artist and street performer. In his first run for office, he is challenging Mike O'Brien in Seattle City Council Position 8.

Ishii had originally declared his intention to run for mayor, but then switched to the council race because the mayor's race was "too crowded," he said.

Ishii believes that the city could solve its fiscal problems by developing its own google-like search engine. "That would be worth gadzillions of dollars," he said. Fighting corruption at City Hall would be his main focus in office.

Ishii said he would not take a salary if elected to office, but instead would donate it to "The First Tee," a program which teaches golf to city kids.

On the web:

David Ishii's campaign website

Seattle City Council Position 8
8:55 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien Stays Focused On Social Justice

Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Mike O'Brien is running for re-election to Position 8 of the Seattle City Council. He is currently serving his first term.

Prior to joining the council, O'Brien served as CFO of the downtown law firm Stokes Lawrence. He has a degree in economics from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Washington.

O'Brien is a close friend of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who also took office in 2009. The two men joined forces to oppose the building of the deep-bore tunnel through the city's downtown, a battle which they lost. O'Brien championed a ban on plastic bags in the city, an opt-out registry for telephone books, and is now pushing for campaign finance reform. He is widely regarded as one of the more progressive members of the City Council.

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Seattle City Council Position 8
8:55 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Albert Shen Wants To Bring Small Business Perspective To Seattle City Council

Seattle City Council candidate Albert Shen.
KUOW Photo

Albert Shen is one of two people challenging first-term incumbent Mike O'Brien for Seattle City Council Position 8. The other candidate is artist David Ishii.

Shen is the owner of Shen Consulting Inc., a transportation and environmental consulting firm. He graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in environmental science.

Shen says he wants to bring a small business person's perspective to the council. He has been endorsed by CASE, the downtown business association. A large number of supporters to his campaign are Asian Americans, and he's the only candidate in the race who has a Chinese language page on his website.

On the web:

Albert Shen's campaign website