I am not someone who typically gets excited about electoral politics. Don’t get me wrong—I’ll dutifully turn in my ballot, even in an off-year primary. But as a grassroots organizer who believes in things like abolishing ICE and stopping “sweeps” of unhoused people that do nothing to actually solve our housing crisis, I am often disappointed by the usual pool of corporate candidates who offer lip service to equity but no substantive change.
But the race to represent Seattle City Council’s District 2 is one that I am actually excited to cast my vote for. As a proud resident of District 2 and someone who has long considered the Chinatown-International District my cultural and community home, I am excited to vote for a candidate who gets things done, who keeps her promises and remains accountable to the people she serves, who listens as much as she leads. That candidate is Tammy Morales.
I’ve worked in the CID for over a decade, and have spent the last five years embedded in grassroots organizing against displacement and gentrification as a member of the CID Coalition. I have seen firsthand how desperately our neighborhood needs affordable housing, fully funded and culturally competent social services, protections for the small businesses and cultural organizations that make the CID so unique, expanded green space and breathable air, and public safety solutions that support the well-being of all members of our community. Tammy Morales is the only candidate in this race with a track record of addressing these issues at the scale and level of urgency that they require.
In her four years on city council, Tammy has delivered for the CID and the South End. When renters and small businesses were struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, she secured rent control and eviction moratoriums that allowed them to stay in place. When we saw a frightening surge in anti-Asian violence, she helped secure funding for anti-Asian hate programs—and later fought to protect that funding from proposed budget cuts that would have slashed it in half. She has worked to expand trash pick-ups and other sanitation services year after year, and allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars for investments in street outreach in the CID to improve safety conditions for our elders, youth, and residents and workers of all ages.
Tammy has also championed efforts to make our neighborhoods healthier and more resilient. She funded the Green New Deal to address our growing climate emergency, as well as upgrades to community centers to offer residents an escape from extreme heat and wildfire smoke. Right now, her office is working to launch a pilot program for community land trusts in Little Saigon and other Seattle neighborhoods that will combat displacement and support community ownership of land. This work is especially important in the CID, which was identified as the neighborhood at highest risk of displacement in the Seattle 2035 Growth and Equity Analysis and shoulders a heavy environmental burden due to decades of disinvestment and racist urban planning that left the CID with some of the highest air pollution and lowest tree canopy in the city.
Throughout her tenure, Tammy has consistently stood with those most impacted by displacement, violence, environmental racism, and other key issues facing our communities—even when it means standing up to powerful interests like the landlord lobby, Amazon, the Seattle Police Department, or the Mayor. In the CID and other South End neighborhoods shaped by legacies of redlining and racial exclusion, we are often forced to fight for our right to shape our own future. We need a representative who is willing to fight alongside us. Whose values are not swayed by political convenience, and who will do what is equitable and just and aligned with the needs of BIPOC, immigrant, and working class D2 residents.
I’m voting for Tammy Morales to be my council member because I want to see the CID, and the people who call it home, thrive for future generations. Because I want those of us who live, work, and build community in the CID to have a real say in decisions about housing, transit, safety, and public space in our neighborhood. Because we deserve a council member who has the experience, engagement, and expertise to bring about the changes we need.
If you want those things too, I hope you’ll join me in casting your vote for Tammy Morales this November.
Nina Nobuko Wallace is a yonsei (fourth-generation Japanese American) writer and community organizer who is passionate about public history, personal stories, and empowered communities. She has worked in the Chinatown International District since 2010 and is a core member of the CID Coalition, which fights displacement in the CID and beyond.