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Retired ‘neighborhood government’ advocate enters District 3 race as fourth Sawant challenger

unnamedA retired public media consultant, TV news broadcaster, and neighborhood activist has become the fifth candidate to enter the race for District 3.

In the 1970s, Lee Carter, 72, was head of the Central Seattle Community Council Federation and told CHS he wants to put neighborhood power and senior issues back at the forefront of city politics.

“We cannot solve the problems of housing for seniors… without returning power to the neighborhoods,” he said

Carter is the fourth candidate to challenge expected frontrunner Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant for the Capitol Hill/Central District-dominated district seat. All candidates must register by May 15th to appear on the August 4th primary ballot. The top two finishers from August will advance to the November election.

This election won’t be Carter’s first run at City Council. In 1999 Carter won 8% of the vote in a primary election for a City Council seat. At the time he supported re-writing the city charter to put neighborhoods at the forefront of city decision making.

After being active in the “neighborhood government” movement in the 1970s, Carter spent much of the 1980s as a political reporter at KIRO and KING.

He later opened his own media consulting business called Unicom Group. He shut down the venture last year to retire, but said it was his wife who encouraged him to return to city politics.

Calling himself a Bull Moose progressive (a reference to the Progressive Party that briefly split-off from the Republicans in 1912), Carter says he supports lifting the ban on rent control and raising the minimum wage, even beyond $15 an hour. “It’s doable through the neighborhood movement,” he said.

In terms of addressing specific senior issues, Carter said he would like to see each neighborhood develop a plan on how to adequately house the city’s growing senior population. However, Carter said his first piece of legislation on council would be to place a moratorium on new development in the city until the new district-based council members had time to settle in.

Carter told CHS he won’t be running a traditional campaign, instead he said he’ll focus his efforts on social media and events.

Meanwhile, the campaign rolls on for the four other District 3 candidates. Sawant is currently leading the fundraising race with $51,330 in total contributions. Here’s how the candidates are stacking up:

  • Kshama Sawant: $51,330
  • Rod Hearne: $30,295
  • Pamela Banks: $17,785
  • Morgan Beach: $8,706
  • Lee Carter: $0

Last month the 43rd District Democrats held a meet-the-candidates event which included straw poll votes for City Council. While it was far from scientific, Sawant won the District 3 poll with about 45% of the vote.

Pamela Banks formally kicked off her campaign last week at an event on Capitol Hill, where she was backed by by three current City Council members, including Bruce Harrell, Tim Burgess, and Sally Bagshaw. Meanwhile, Morgan Beach recently earned the endorsement of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington for her pledge to help close the gender pay gap in the city.

If you think five candidates for the District 3 position seems like a crowd, try nine. District 1 has attracted the most would-be Council members. And not one of the nine vying to lead the West Seattle district is a Council veteran.

To help you make up your mind on the candidates incumbent and challenger, a District 3 candidate forum will be held on May 12th at the Mount Zion Baptist Church at 19th and Madison. The 43rd District Democrats have confirmed all candidates are expected — save Carter. But maybe he was too new to the race to have had time to confirm.

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8 thoughts on “Retired ‘neighborhood government’ advocate enters District 3 race as fourth Sawant challenger

  1. I think this may be a closer race than expected. That being said, I will probably vote Sawant again. She advocates for the low-income and disenfranchised people in our community, works closely with unions, and gets things done. I would be somewhat tempted to vote for Banks, but I will have to see how she does in the debates.

    Another thing I appreciate about Sawant is her dedication to attending community events and forums. I have seen her at a number of important events reaching out to community members, most notably at the people’s tribunal at SU. More than once, she has come up to me and introduced herself (on the street and at events) and I’ve been able to chat with her about issues that are important to me. Save for Mike O’Brian, who was also in attendance at the tribunal, I haven’t seen any other council members at free community events that matter.

    Carter seems to be a good candidate as well, but I want to hear more about what he will do for our neighborhood beyond helping seniors (which is extremely important, especially as capitol hill and the surrounding area is increasingly focusing on me and my peers of the younger generation.) Thanks, CHS for bringing us these updates. I look forward to the debates and election!

  2. Can we get Vern Fonk on the ballot?

    I would vote for him (or any other warm body) over Sawant every day of the week and twice on Sunday…

  3. Does he want me to hand over my wallet so the contents can be equally distributed amongst others like Sawant does? If he does not, then he gets my vote over hers.

  4. It will certainly be an interesting race with a great contrast in choices. Hopefully we can get someone cares about all of Capitol Hill.

  5. UNLESS you are small business friendly you will NOT get my vote. I’m tired of candidates looking to win votes by raising minimum wage and rent control, none of those are needed. We do need MORE affordable housing, but not on the backs of private individuals and corporations. It’s the city who approves these developments, therefore the city needs to offset by building affordable housing units.

    How about the platform of making better life choices, affordable higher education and being a contributing member to society. Stand on your own two feet!

  6. “Pamela Banks formally kicked off her campaign last week at an event on Capitol Hill, where she was backed by by three current City Council members, including Bruce Harrell, Tim Burgess, and Sally Bagshaw.”

    –> the neo-liberals are closing rank

    there is a massive gentrification of Seattle taking place, and the battle lines are pretty clear. Burgess, Harrell, Gonzalez (endorsed by Harrell and Murray – who has his secretive and developer-laden “affordable” housing committee pushing back against developer fees, rent control and city owned and financed housing), Burgess and Bagshaw represent the power and the forces of displacement…

  7. Pingback: District 3 candidates meet at 19th and Madison Tuesday night | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  8. Pingback: 32+ things CHS heard during the District 3 candidates forum | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle