Jessyn Farrell, a public transportation attorney and former lawmaker, is running for mayor of Seattle, she said Thursday.
Farrell, 47, ran for mayor back in 2017 – she resigned as a state representative to camp – and finished fourth in a crowded elementary school.
Announcing her campaign, Farrell said she would seek “a Seattle of justice and common prosperity with detailed plans and a blueprint for a fresh start”.
She suggested establishing universal childcare from birth to the age of 5.
“People really suffer, whether it is economic hardship, racial injustice, isolation or distance learning. These are things that a lack of guided tours make all the more difficult,” Farrell said in an interview Thursday.
The main themes of your campaign could be limited to two key questions: “Are we going to be a city that people want to live in and that can afford to live?”
She said she wanted to go back to the time when the government was “playing a really big role in housing,” trying to build a more diverse range of housing – more senior housing in neighborhoods, more family accommodation in the city center.
This shouldn’t rule out imperfect but necessary interim solutions to the city’s homeless crisis, including smaller house villages and the use of hotels as shelters. Adding more permanent supporting housing requires new “resources,” she said, but “They don’t just do taxes to collect taxes.”
“You have to move the conversation about revenue based on what you’re trying to get,” Farrell said.
In clearing homeless camps, Farrell said we need to be able to reconcile “multiple truths”.
“Parks are not safe places for people to sleep outside, and the purpose of city parks is not for people to sleep outside,” Farrell said. “At the same time, the set of solutions we used does not work, sweeps do not work.”
Farrell declined to comment firmly on the city council’s move to cut the Seattle Police Department’s budget by 50%. Parts of the police force work well, she said, but we also need to change what we consider public safety. That means expanding things like community-based crisis response and the Seattle Fire Department’s Health One program for people who are in a behavioral crisis or in need of social services.
“The council and mayor have been very reactive over the past few months,” said Farrell. “I will be very conscious of not governing by percentage, but by values.”
Farrell was elected to the state’s House of Representatives in 2012 and won a six-member elementary school for a vacancy. She was re-elected by a wide margin in 2014 and ran unopposed in 2016.
In law, Farrell was the main sponsor of a 2017 bill to address distracted driving. In 2015, she was the main sponsor of a bill requiring employers to offer paid sick leave. It became law the next year.
Prior to serving in the legislature, Farrell was the executive director of the Transportation Choices Coalition, a public transportation advocacy group that played a role in building support for Sound Transit’s light rail expansion.
Since her last mayoral run, Farrell has worked at Civic Ventures, a progressive think tank and public order organization led by venture capitalist Nick Hanauer.
She graduated from the University of Washington, where she played the saxophone in the marching band, and has a law degree from Boston College Law School.
Mayor Jenny Durkan is not seeking re-election.
Other candidates for mayoral include the President of the City Council, M. Lorena González, the chief executive officer of the Seattle Club, Colleen Echohawk, the former president of the city council, Bruce Harrell, the architect and city planner Andrew Grant Houston, and Lance Randall, the head of a nonprofit economic organization Development in South Seattle.