Councilmember Tammy Morales at her re-election event on February 1,2023. Photo by Ashley Archibald

(A version of this piece was originally published in Real Change News and is republished with permission.)

Councilmember Tammy Morales announced Wednesday that she would run for reelection in District 2, making her the second sitting councilmember to declare their candidacy in a year in which all seven district seats are up for election.

Councilmember Andrew Lewis, who represents District 7, is currently running unopposed. Four councilmembers — Lisa Herbold, Kshama Sawant, Alex Pedersen and Debora Juarez — have already bowed out. Councilmember Dan Strauss, who represents District 6, has yet to say if he will run one way or another.

Flanked by leaders in the region’s housing, transportation and tenants’ rights worlds at the entrance to the Beacon Hill School, Morales touted her progressive policy track record and success at bringing investment and resources to a district that has historically not seen it.

The result, she said: A district that sees roughly half of the traffic deaths in Seattle, displacement of longtime residents and a toxic combination of over- and under-policing.
Morales positioned herself as a councilmember that has collaborated with community members and a bulwark against powerful interests.

Morales pointed to her voting record during her three years in office, which took place almost entirely during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. She said that her office helped secure $200 million for investments throughout the city and in District 2. She has put her weight behind efforts including: a reduction in traffic deaths through the Vision Zero program, environmental investments in the Green New Deal and abortion protections after the fall of Roe v. Wade.

Morales supported efforts to tax big business to expand the community safety net. Those council votes eventually resulted in the JumpStart tax, which was used to fill in gaps in the city budgets for the past two years.

She also highlighted efforts to keep tenants in place through eviction protections, many of which were challenged in court by landlord groups.

Rising rents, which cause homelessness and displacement, are still a major concern in District 2.

Several people who came to support her declined to sign a form to qualify her for democracy vouchers, a publicly funded form of campaign fundraising, because they no longer lived in Seattle.

One was Violet Lavatai, the executive director of the Tenants Union, an organization that advocates for tenants’ rights.

“I should be living here, where I grew up, but that’s not the case,” Lavatai said. “Having Tammy at the forefront as a community leader, she is the voice of us who are considered marginalized and vulnerable communities.”

Morales won election in 2019 handily, securing 50 percent of the vote in a slate of seven primary contenders and 60.5 percent in the general election. Her professional background is in regional and community planning.

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