Voting is one of the most powerful tools an individual has to affect change. This year’s city council election will play a crucial role in how Seattle acts on the climate goals set by the Green New Deal.

Below you will find information regarding each candidates’ climate priorities collected by Emeraldology. We gathered this information by emailing each candidate the same question, scouring their websites for policy and green endorsements, and attending October 18’s “The Urban Indian Experience & a Green New Deal Seattle City Council Forum.” A video of that forum can be found here.

Use the tabs to find information for each candidate. This is a resource to help climate-focused voters better understand each candidate’s priorities. This is not an endorsement for any candidate.

Ballots are due November 5!

District 1

Green Endorsements:

Transit Riders Union, Washington Bikes, Washington Conservation Voters, TreePAC.

From October 18 Forum:

Day 1 climate priority: Electrification of T5 at the port, garbage and recycling fleet and rideshare vehicles.

Plan to reduce emissions: Have large employers provide and subsidize transit passes. Make sure social service organizations through the city are providing transit passes. Build transit-oriented development.

Green Policy Highlights:

  • On 2016 council that passed the Green Pathways Resolution.
  • Advocated for shore power at Terminal 5 to reduce noise/exhause of idling ships. Advocated crane and dock vehicle electrification.
  • Advocated for electric garbage/recycling trucks in 2018.

Green Endorsements:

There are no apparant green endorsements listed on this candidate’s website.

From October 18 Forum:

Day 1 climate priority: Create a new program of education, outreach and training to prepare workforce for jobs created by Green New Deal. Partner with colleges and universities to train for future jobs.

Plan to reduce emissions: No on I-976 to protect Transportation Benefit Districts. Transfer bus fleets to full electric, elimniate idling trucks at Port and implement green building standards. Talk to UW and groups reducing their carbon footprint to get ideas from them.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

  • Accelerate the electrification of transportation through incentive and grant programs.
  • Expand chring and rideshare programs.
  • Improve micro-mobility (bicycle, walking, electric bikes) to decrease need for private cars.

District 2

Green Endorsements:

There are no apparent green endorsements listed on this candidate’s website.

From October 18 Forum:

How to address zoning issues for more density: Need to build more housing, streamline permitting process. Increase number of affordable properties in Mandatory Housing Affordability zones.

Addressing minorities being disproportionately affected by climate change: Those most impacted should be at the table for green jobs and environmental decisions.

Do you agree with the proposed natural gas ban on new construction?

No, because it would hurt employers.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

  • Expand King County Metro public transit.
  • Improve infrastructure to alleviate congestion.

Green Endorsements:

Sierra Club of Seattle, Transit Riders Union, TreePAC, Washington Conservation Voters.

From October 18 Forum:

How to address zoning issues for more density: Build more affordable housing. Every neighborhood in the city needs to absorb low-income housing to spread access to services.

Addressing minorities being disproportionately affected by climate change: Use experience as organizer for anti-displacement to give frontline communities a voice at city hall.

Do you agree with the proposed natural gas ban on new construction?

Yes, but it needs work.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

  • Supports Green New Deal as a means to confront environmental and racial injustice.
  • Supports publicly-owned utlities, as modeled by Tacoma.
  • Free and expanded public transit.
  • Green union jobs in manufacturing, construction and maintanence.
  • Explore options for urban agriculture and gardening.

See how the Seattle City Council candidates stack up on 350 Seattle’s Climate Scorecard.

District 3

Green Endorsements:

TreePAC

From October 18 Forum:

How do we bring GHG emissions to zero?: Use green technology to electrify City fleet and rideshares and bring transit emission to zero. Prioritize green building and remodeling projects.

How do we raise revenue for Green New Deal?: Can’t let burden fall on workers and middle class. Progressive and high-earner taxes.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

  • “Fight for Green New Deal that’s more than an idea, but a plan.”
  • Pass a city-wide resolution declaring climate change an emergency.
  • Create green jobs through vehicle electrification and green building and remodeling. By divesting ourselves of the need for fossil fuels and investing in sustainable solutions, we bring great, living-wage union jobs to our local energy and housing infrastructure.
  • Plan to retrofit existing city building to be energy-efficient and carbon-neutral, and ensure future construction meets the highest green standards. 
  • As more energy is needed, commit to getting that energy from wind and solar.
  • Use the Racial Equity Tool Kit in all city planning towards achieving the goals of the Green New Deal to ensure indigenous people and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by climate change have priority access to jobs created by these new policies. 
  • Support sustainable, regenerative farming, by using City dollars on meal programs to purchase as much food as possible from sustainable food sources, while still meeting the needs of the communities who need assistance the most.

Green Endorsements:

Sierra Club of Seattle, Transit Riders Union, Washington Bikes, TreePAC.

 

From October 18 Forum:

How do we bring GHG emissions to zero?: 100% renewable energy by 2030 – minimum. Epansion of free, green public transit, affordable green social housing. Tax big business to create revenue to fund the Green New Deal.

How do we raise revenue for Green New Deal?: Progressive taxes. Need to tax big businesses and high-earners’ income.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

  • Seattle should be a real climate leader by becoming 100% renewable-energy based by 2030. 
  • Tax the rich to massively expand public transit, making it fully electric and free.
  • Create thousands of living-wage union jobs with a major expansion of wind and solar by Seattle public utilities, paid for by taxing big business.
  • Retrofit homes and businesses to the highest efficiency standards.
  • Electrify the port, with no loss of jobs, and with labor playing a central role. Protect our working waterfront!
  • Massively cut emissions through rent control and a major expansion of social housing. Tens of thousands of area commuters travel long distances because they can’t afford to live near where they work. 
  • We need a rapid shift away from fossil fuels – bring the big U.S. energy corporations into democratic public ownership and retool them for clean energy.

District 4

Green Endorsements:

TreePAC

From October 18 Forum:

How to address zoning issues for more density: Use background in Housing and Urban Development to continue growth near transit in Seattle’s 25 urban villages near. Fund low income housing through Seattle Housing Levy.

Addressing minorities being disproportionately affected by climate change: Use governing board that centers marginalized communities to implement Green New Deal programs.

Do you agree with the proposed natural gas ban on new construction?

Not until labor groups are given a seat at the table.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

The pionts below were sent in an email to Emeraldology. More details can be found here.

1. Implement Mayor Jenny Durkan’s updated “Seattle Climate Action” report
2. Lead the world in leveraging our region’s technology for best practices on climate
3. Encourage more use of clean solar energy
4. Protect and Expand our Tree Canopy
5. Convert City Fleets to Green Faster
6. Get more people to ride Sound Transit’s light rail
7. Support Supplemental Bus Service for Seattle Residents
8. Require Large institutions to contribute more to transit solutions
9. Expand the city’s “Commute Trip Reduction” program with large employers
10. Phase out gasoline-powered (two stroke) leaf blowers with a buy-back program
11. Enable our Port of Seattle to use more clean energy with electrification
12. Facilitate a “Just Transition” to the cleaner, greener economy for today’s workers
13. Require a “Carbon Note” with each newly proposed ordinance and program
14. Demand greater accountability and action from regional organizations such as the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
15. Leverage the research and action plans for climate resiliency from science-based institutions such as University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group
16. Defeat Donald Trump!
17. Vote against Tim Eyman’s harmful Initiative 976
18. Preserve and expand affordable housing, especially near reliable mass transit.

Green Endorsements:

Washington Bikes, Transit Riders Union, The Sierra Club Seattle.

 

From October 18 Forum:

How to address zoning issues for more density: Only candidate in (District 4) race to support Sound Transit 3 and Move Seattle Levy. More density, more public and social housing closer to transit.

Addressing minorities being disproportionately affected by climate change: Seattle needs minority representation at the table to seperate out environmental racism and degredation.

Do you agree with the proposed natural gas ban on new construction?

Yes

 

Green Policy Highlights:

The statement below is from an email to Emeraldology. More details can be found here.

“To answer your question, in my first year in office, I would be continuing the momentum we have gained on the SGND in City Council and work on establishing funding sources such as a land value tax, real estate speculation tax, as well as taxing the rich– specifically large corporations. We would then use this to fund public and social housing, especially workforce housing, as carbon emissions from cars are the number one contributor to climate change in this region because too many people are commuting long hours to get to and from their workplaces in the city. At the same time, we would invest in expanding public transportation and making it free and accessible to all. More of our specific policy points can be read on our website and in this op-ed in The Stranger.’

District 5

Green Endorsements:

There are no apparant green endorsements listed on this candidate’s website.

From October 18 Forum:

This candidate did not attend the October 18 forum.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

From the candidate’s website:

“We can protect the health of our environment by addressing litter and dumping in our green spaces and local water sources. There are 9 major green spaces in our district from Carkeek park to Thornton Creek. These need protection and maintenance. This is a perfect opportunity to create more city jobs for those who need them. Cleaning our streets is also an opportunity to start encouraging a litter-free city to make families, businesses, and neighbors feel safer and better about their community.”

This Includes:

We can protect the health of our environment by addressing litter and dumping in our green spaces and local water sources. There are 9 major green spaces in our district from Carkeek park to Thornton Creek. These need protection and maintenance. This is a perfect opportunity to create more city jobs for those who need them. Cleaning our streets is also an opportunity to start encouraging a litter-free city to make families, businesses, and neighbors feel safer and better about their community.

This Includes:

Creating city jobs for maintaining health and appearance of public parks and water sources.

Encouraging city-wide support of maintaining a litter-free Seattle to reduce litter pile-up over time.”

Green Endorsements:

The Sierra Club Seattle, Transit Riders Union

 

From October 18 Forum:

How to address zoning issues for more density: We have 75% of the city zoned for single family homes, we need to zone for density. Housing and transportation go hand in hand, and the wealthy got the good housing, good transportation. We need to right this historical wrong.

Addressing minorities being disproportionately affected by climate change: First, prioritize investments most harmed by environmental injustices. Second, advance on an equitable transition and ensure those with the least amount of power and wealth lead during the transition.

Do you agree with the proposed natural gas ban on new construction?

I don’t have an answer until labor is able to study how to move forward and perhaps come up with a graduated plan.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

  • Self-described “climate hawk.”
  • Passed resolution to stop the Pebble Mine.
  • Coordinated clean ups at Thornton Creek.
  • Voted for Seattle to defy Trump by following Paris Climate Accord.
  • Signed 100% clean Energy by 2030 pledge.

District 6

Green Endorsements:

Washington Conservation Voters, Transit Riders Union, TreePAC.

From October 18 Forum:

How do we bring GHG emissions to zero?: Connected network of bus only lanes, pass a tree canopy ordinance, implement green building codes that mandate wiring for solar. Pass the natural gas bill while protecting union jobs.

How do we raise revenue for Green New Deal?: Congestion pricing as long as it accounts for equity. Charge businesses for using transit only lanes. Do not continue to rely on property and sales tax, because it impacts the people that need our help the most.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

From the candidate’s website. More detailed policy here.

Carbon-neutral City of Seattle

We need to incorporate the goals of our climate initiative into the City’s business practices – fully electrifying our automotive fleet, bringing all city buildings up to the highest energy efficiency standards, and powering City infrastructure through 100% renewable energy.

Improved Transit

Vehicles account for over half of the city’s carbon emissions. I will create a citywide network of connected bus lanes and protected bike lanes, giving people who already want to opt out of relying on their car the ability to do so.

Green Building Codes

Buildings are the largest source of carbon emissions in Seattle after transit. I will ensure all new buildings are built to the highest standards of energy efficiency, add distributed solar energy and utility-scale wind and solar to support building electrification, and will include charging stations for electric vehicles.

Tree Canopy Protection

I will prioritize passage of a tree canopy ordinance I am working on at the Council, which creates a tree permitting system similar to Portland. As the world warms, we need to make sure that our trees–and the shade, character, and carbon sequestration they provide–are safe.

Congestion Pricing

The majority of Seattle’s carbon emissions are from transportation, and congestion pricing is an effective tool for reducing these emissions. As we consider this policy, we must be mindful of the equity impact – congestion pricing can disproportionately impact low-income communities. We also need to ensure the policy accounts for people who work more than one job, late or early hours, or need to use their vehicle as a function of their job, whether it is carrying tools or materials.

Green Endorsements:

The Sierra Club Seattle, Washington Conservationn Voters, TreePAC

 

From October 18 Forum:

How do we bring GHG emissions to zero?: We need to lower vehicle emissions, starting with voting no on I-976. That’s the most important thing on the ballot. Expand transit and bike/pedestrian infrastructure, electrify the City fleet. Early signer to the Green New Deal in the primary.

How do we raise revenue for Green New Deal?: We should look at congestion pricing, which is contentious now, but we all benefit when people aren’t driving their cars. Ensure that people of low-income are not economically disadvantaged. Use a sliding scale for congestion pricing.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

From the candidate’s website:

“Seattle must be a leader on climate protection and reducing our carbon footprint. This is a core issue for me. I have served on the Climate Solutions board for over 10 years, and I understand the urgency with which we must approach the warming of our climate. This is about our kids’ future.

My activism goes back to my UW days as student body president when I helped start the campus recycling program and championed the U-PASS program, the universal bus pass given to all UW students to make it more convenient and affordable to take public transit.

When I was on the council, I helped create the Green Power Program and led the effort to sign our first wind contract at Seattle City Light. We were the largest public utility in the country to invest in wind power, and our power portfolio is among the cleanest in the country. Since our energy sources are green, the next area for major improvements is the transportation sector.

We need transportation improvements to ensure Seattle is safe to walk and bike while prioritizing public transportation and freight mobility. Currently, the largest amount of carbon emissions in our city comes from transportation. In Seattle, 50% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from passenger vehicles. It’s critical to make it convenient and safe to bike, walk, take transit, and to move goods efficiently throughout the city. Major projects, policies, and funding decisions need to reflect these values.

Remarkably, 20% of residents living downtown don’t own cars. This is a great trend. It shows that the nexus of providing dense housing close to jobs allows for a lifestyle with a lighter carbon footprint. If we want a livable, walkable city outside of downtown, we need to ensure that pedestrians have unobstructed and safe pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks and crosswalks on busy arterials.

Pedestrian safety is a serious issue. In 2017, Seattle had 11 pedestrian deaths and 56 serious injuries. We must make pedestrian safety a priority. One-fourth of our city still doesn’t have sidewalks which equates to 1,800 blocks of arterials and 10,000 blocks of non-arterials. Seattle only spends $2M annually on sidewalks which is enough for only 7 new blocks each year. The Move Seattle Levy has just over $4M over 9 years for remarking crosswalks, even though it promised voters a 4-year remarking cycle. More than 8% of commuters walk to work and downtown, it’s 13%. In Ballard, 31% surveyed in 2016 said they walked to their destination and 6% biked. These figures demonstrate that dense communities with safe pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure will use it. When I was on the city council 20 years ago, I earned the nickname “Sidewalk Wills” for my advocacy for pedestrian safety. This issue is as relevant now as it was then and I will make it a priority.

Beyond increasing public transit, we must be mindful to offer residents an array of transportation options, and this includes a robust and safe bicycle transportation network. For many years during and after college, I was solely a bicycle commuter. I appreciate the importance of dedicated bicycle lanes to feeling safe as a cyclist and also the need for safe and convenient bicycle storage. It’s great that our city offers bicycle-sharing, including e-bikes which are a good option for people who would like to cycle but are otherwise hesitant about our many hills. Bicycle sharing and e-bikes are relatively low-cost and convenient transportation methods.

I am open to congestion pricing done on a sliding scale so it’s not another regressive tax.

It will no-doubt be controversial at the beginning, just like the U-Pass was at the UW when I advocated for that as student body president in 1990-91. Now it’s replicated all over the country. To address equity concerns, we could implement a sliding scale for commuters based on income and type of driver with different structures for freight, delivery vehicles, work vehicles, carpools, and standard commuters. And perhaps only charge for peak times. If drivers utilize a “Good-To-Go” pass, it enables us to introduce a sliding scale payment structure. Seattle needs to move forward carefully. We don’t want to discourage people from coming downtown. I am open to adding a fee on to Lyft and Uber rides in and out of downtown and dedicating those funds to transportation improvements.

I support the completion of the Burke Gilman Trail through Ballard with an elevated bicycle path along Shilshole Avenue. Shilshole Avenue is a major freight corridor supporting hundreds of working class jobs in the maritime and industrial sectors. We can have a win-win solution with an elevated trail. For more info, please see the Facebook page called “Ballard High Line” which my campaign created in collaboration with Phinney Ridge resident and visionary Russell Bennett.”

District 7

Green Endorsements:

Washington Bikes, Washington Conservation Voters, TreePAC, Transit Riders Union.

From October 18 Forum:

Day 1 climate priority: Expanding the use of cross-laminated timber in our buildings. It’s a sustainable building alternative to steel and concrete that sequesters carbon.

Plan to reduce emissions: Defeat Tim Eyman measure I-976. Because of Transportation Benefit District, two-thirds of Seattle households are within 10 minute walk of transit, funded by cartabs. Expand TBD to get last third of households closer to transit.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

​From the candidate’s website:

  • Expand The Use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT): 14% of global carbon emissions are caused by the use of concrete and steel in construction. CLT would dramatically reduce this carbon footprint – in fact acting as a carbon sequestration resource. The use of CLT would additionally save the city money on construction projects ranging from community centers to affordable housing, and opening funding for other crucial public works projects. You can read my Op-Ed published last November in the Urbanist for more details.

  • Electrify Seattle’s Light-Freight Fleet: As vehicles are graduated out of the light-duty fleet (civilian cars used for city business) we should be one-for-one replacing them with appropriate electric vehicles with a goal of total conversion within 5 years. The City’s light vehicle fleet is already 20% electric vehicles. The price of acquiring the fleet will more than be offset by the maintenance reduction. Electric vehicles require 40% less maintenance cost than traditional fossil fuel ones. As a prosecutor, I know first and foremost the needs of our first responders to get the job done. Sometimes that requires vehicles where an electric option is not currently market available, like police, fire, and some heavy public utility trucks. We need to keep our eye on the market for commercially available vehicles adaptable for those purposes, but in the meantime roles that can be adapted to commercially available all electric vehicles should be. It is attainable, and we can do it in the aforementioned time frame.​​

  • Realize Seattle’s 2018 Climate Action Plan Building Emission Goals: Most of the action recommendations within the Council’s 2018 plan rely on incentives rather than mandates. I would be interested in pursuing a building heating and energy efficiency mandate similar to the one recently imposed by Bill DeBlasio in New York. The large decrease in CO2 emissions attributable to building heating can be linked to the reduction in cost and proliferation of technology making efficient heating practices more attainable and implementable. There is no excuse for inaction. We need to set a standard as a city and expect commercial buildings to comply. Fines for failure to comply can be used as part of a subsidy fund to help non-profit and landlords or businesses working on slim margins to meet the standards set out by the mandate.

  • Expand Sound Transit Light Rail and Rapid Ride Services: The Seattle City Council has positions on the Sound Transit Board. I will advocate for grade separated transportation options that we need today, not in 20 years, to quickly increase our city’s light rail capacity. We need to build a sense of urgency to get these projects off the ground and moving, and I support a clear proposal for a cap and trade law that will invest the proceeds exclusively in transportation improvements, like light rail expansion, to address potential funding issues. Even if this takes another attempt at a statewide initiative, we need to make it clear that the public benefit to a tax that will almost exclusively fall on big polluters and big oil will far outweigh any taxpayer investments.

  • On Rapid Ride services, the connections and transportation oriented development opportunities presented by Rapid Ride routes are a huge boon to business districts. Whatever may be lost in parking is more than gained in increased passenger traffic and more locally sited housing to provide a steady base of consumers to business districts. Two-thirds of Seattle households are now within a 10 minute walk of mass transit that comes every 10 minutes or faster. That’s a great achievement, but we need to get to that last third. I have a sinking suspicion that the transit deserts underserved by the current TBD are probably producing the largest share of those single occupancy vehicle trips. Expanding the TBD when it is up for renewal will be a high priority for me, and is instrumental to driving down the single vehicle trips greatly impacting Seattle’s GHG footprint. 

Green Endorsements:

TreePAC

 

From October 18 Forum:

Day 1 climate priority: Green Janitor Program, inexpensive program that reduces energy use by training janitors to turn off appliances, turn down thermostat, clean screens in ventilation, etc. Convert Seattle police cars to all electric to prevent wasted fuel.

Plan to reduce emissions: Work with the experts in department of transportation, sound transit and metro transit. Build mix-use housing closer to public transit.

 

Green Policy Highlights:

The statement below is from an email to Emeraldology. More of this candidate’s climate policy can be found here.

“The bottom line for protecting our environment and fighting climate change is pushing for a Green New Deal — which I am supportive of and will work for once elected to the City Council! 

The goals of a carbon free economy by 2030; transition through just and equitable job creation prioritizing vulnerable and marginalized communities; mobilizing public and private resources to reduce pollution and create alternative energy sources; and couple these direct environmental reforms with other necessary ‘wrap-around’ legislation to ensure our transition is just like paid family leave, actually universal healthcare, and universal and affordable childcare equitably distributed throughout all communities will make Seattle a bold leader in the fight against climate change. 

The top concern people have with the GND is funding, so this is what I have to say on that respect and what I’ll do to help us become the sustainable, green leader I know we can be: Revenue for all environmental programs must come from Progressive sources. We need to look at the city’s bonding capacity as well as if revenue from the general fund is viable. If this revenue is being saved for a ‘rainy day,’ the climate crisis may just be the rainiest day humanity has ever seen. I will also push for a statewide high earners capital gains tax to ensure programs are funded equitably. Impact fees on new developments as well as a potential municipal cap and trade system to directly offset carbon emissions are also temporary revenue sources that can be used as we transition toward a carbon-free economy. There is no greater priority, and at the end of the day, we have found funding for other ‘top priority’ projects, and we will find the funding to save our planet if we have the political spine to do it. 

We can’t afford to waste more time bickering about petty differences and minor flaws — we need to step up and tackle this critical issue head on. On the City Council, we may not have the influence necessary to single handedly solve the climate crisis, but that is no excuse to abrogate our responsibility to do something. Let’s work with local businesses and building trades unions to increase efficiency standards for new buildings and upgrade existing ones to maximize efficiency and energy savings, as well as instituting clear and high grey water recycling standards. Let’s provide incentives for businesses and homes to make it easier to utilize and install private solar energy systems and ensure new housing is environmentally friendly. Transition to a wholly electric fleet and greatly expand public transit, including green alternatives for Paratransit. Increase investments in protecting our waterways and re-vamping our out-dated stormwater runoff infrastructure. Working with frontline communities, most notably our Native American tribes who have been left out for hundreds of years and continue to lack a voice in our policy making process (the Duwamish people are still not recognized as a ‘tribe’ by the federal government), despite feeling the consequences of climate change more directly than many other communities. 

Beyond the short-term ‘hard’ solutions we need to put in place IMMEDIATELY, we will never solve the climate crisis and protect our natural world until we teach our kids the importance of sustainability and care of the environment. We need to invest in our future by investing in our students and providing a more comprehensive environmental education than just ‘please recycle.’ When students can take classes in environmental engineering, resource management, and sustainable development, and those resources are accessible to all students in our city, only then can we create a world that protects the environment for all of us.”