With the 2022 midterms now in the history books, candidates are starting to declare for offices that will be contested in this year’s local election cycle, like Seattle’s seven district-based city council seats.
Today, food security activist Joy Hollingsworth became one of the first to officially launch a campaign at an event in Madison Valley. Hollingsworth, thirty-eight, is running for the seat currently held by Kshama Sawant, who defeated Richard Conlin ten years ago for an at-large seat on the council and has since been reelected several times. (Sawant also narrowly survived a recall attempt.)
Sawant has not said if she’s running for reelection again.
Three of her colleagues — Debora Juarez, Lisa Herbold, and Alex Pedersen — have already said they will depart the Council at the end of this year.
Regardless of what Sawant decides, Hollingsworth is in to win.
Speaking to a large crowd of energetic supporters at the MLK FAME Community Center, Hollingsworth explained that she’s a practical, pragmatic progressive who believes in the power of public policy to improve lives.
She began her remarks by giving thanks to the volunteers and community members who help set up the event.
She then recounted her grandmother marching with Martin Luther King nearly six decades ago, stressing the important legacy that that MLK left behind.
“MLK led a movement across the country that connected communities, unified voices, and really pushed progress,” she noted.
She added that she believes it is her time to start her own journey of helping local families and communities by running for Seattle City Council.
The room burst with laughter after Hollingsworth mentioned that she didn’t think anyone would clap after her announcement.
“This is the Seattle I love,” she said, after acknowledging many of the friends present in the room for her announcement.
Having grown up in the neighborhood, Hollingsworth knows the 3rd District well. She recalled partaking in school sports and playing basketball at the “old Garfield”.
Presently, Hollingsworth works on “food accessibility at the nonprofit Northwest Harvest,” according to her campaign announcement. She “continues to be engaged in the operations of her family farm – one of the few Black-owned businesses in Washington’s legal cannabis market. She has also worked in youth sports and as Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at Seattle University.”
In her remarks, she mentioned that her family has never shied away from working to increase diversity and widen inclusion in the community. Hollingsworth’s Aunt Jackie, a retired executive, spent her career diversifying the talent at Boeing. Jackie “shattered the ceilings and brought diversity to Boeing”.
“I am guided by my old school values of trust, working hard, commitment to the process, tangible goals, teamwork, dedication but with a new school voice,” Hollingsworth told the crowd, radiating optimism as she spoke.
Hollingsworth then dived into her policy perspective on social service. She stated that her priorities as a councilmember will be guided by her own personal history, helping smaller communities, helping small business, advocating for youth and using the platform for the community reinvestment programs.
Practicality and lived experience is what Hollingsworth strives to bring to the office. “I want to promote progressive and practical strategies to address root causes of seemingly intractable issues including all voices and perspectives,” she said. “Measuring progress and cultivating trust and trans relational relationships.”
Seattle must find ways to increase attainable, affordable housing and homeownership opportunities as well as improving access to healthy food while empowering small businesses to thrive, she said. She also mentioned engaging and mentoring youth along with protecting the LGBTQ+ community.
Bringing the community to City Hall sounds like it will be a core theme of Hollingsworth’s campaign. By declaring early, she’s ensuring that her campaign is positioned to make the most of opportunities to build a solid foundation with donors, volunteers, and voters, giving a better chance of succeeding where other Sawant challengers have failed — assuming Sawant runs again.
Filing Week for this year’s local offices will be in about four months. In between now and then, it’s likely we’ll see additional candidates enter the contest for Seattle City Council in the newly redrawn 3rd District.