What can you learn about candidates based on the institutions they come from?
Last week CHS looked at Socialist Alternative, the grassroots — and growing — activist group that helped catapult District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant from an Occupy Seattle speaker to City Council. The institution that molded challenger Pamela Banks for Tuesday’s top-two-move-on primary could not be more different in its approach to civic engagement.
Prior to taking over Seattle’s Urban League in 2012, Banks spent nearly her entire adult career working for the City of Seattle. While her opponents have recently heightened their criticisms of Banks’s soaring campaign contributions from large donations, she says it’s only a distraction from her long history of serving the City.
“This idea that I’m a corporate sellout when I’ve spent my entire career in public service is hilarious,” she said. “I could’ve went into the private sector, but I decided not to.”
Banks started in what was then called the Department of Housing and Human Services, working as a community organizer and spreading the word out about energy conservation in poorer neighborhoods. She then spent over a decade in the Department of Neighborhoods. She was a neighborhood district coordinator in the Northeast and Southeast districts and later oversaw the coordinator program. Continue reading