After former-Councilmember Sally Clark resigned earlier this month, The Seattle City Council narrowed the search for her replacement to eight finalists: Jan Drago, Noel Frame, Sharon Lee, Sharon Maeda, David Moseley, John Okamoto, Sheley Secrest, and Alec Stephens.
Three of those finalists—Lee, Maeda, and Okamoto—are local leaders in the API community.
Lee is the founder and executive director of the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), a non-profit organization based in Seattle engaged in low-income housing development, management, advocacy, and supportive services. She holds a Master of Architecture and a Master of City Planning from M.I.T. and a B.A. with honors from the University of Pennsylvania.
Lee issued the following statement regarding her possible appointment to the City Council:
“I asked to be appointed to the City Council’s vacant position 9 because I believe that I can play an effective role in addressing the current housing crisis. I have a 20-year career at the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) in building affordable housing for families, seniors and the workforce.
“We just opened up Cheryl Chow Court in Ballard for seniors. Over the years we completed Aki Kurose Village, Cate Apartments, Nova Townhomes, and Tyree Scott Apartments for families with children—in total over 3,500 affordable apartments.
“Income inequality is increasing in Seattle because of the high cost of housing. 48 percent of renter of color are cost burdened, or paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing. 55 percent of Asian renters have incomes no more than 50 percent of the area median income ($44,800 for a family of four). 66 percent of Black renters have incomes no more than 50 percent of AMI.
“As rents continue to climb, more people of color will have to leave Seattle to find affordable housing. Seattle will be increasingly less diverse. Unless the mayor and City Council take action immediately to preserve the affordability of existing housing and build new rent restricted housing, Seattle will become more like San Francisco, New York and Washington, DC.”
The Seattle City Council plans to appoint a new member by majority vote today.