Professional planner and designer, Kate Martin, has entered the races for Seattle Mayor and Seattle City Council Position 8. The Seattle mayoral race is an open seat since current mayor, Jenny Durkan, will not run for re-election this year. The council race is against incumbent Teresa Mosqueda who Martin describes as a “big labor” activist.
I caught up with Kate a few weeks ago when she agreed to an interview so long as I’d pick litter with her in North Lake Union because she had committed to volunteer at a We Heart Seattle event.
Her slogan is “Had enough?” and she believes that voters are ready to hand the reins over to proven non-ideological leaders who know how to solve problems. Martin says that Seattleites often lead their comments with, “I’m a liberal, but…” when describing to her how exasperated they are with the status quo. She promises “no nonsense” and “no excuses”. I sense that she could move fast and fix things.
Martin is a 63 year old center right Republican. She told me that she took two steps to the right after leaving the Dems in 2016 and becoming independent for 4 years. I’ve known her for almost 20 years and I’m not sure it’s Martin who has changed as much as perhaps the Democratic Party. I’ve watched firsthand as she transformed from a lifelong Democrat to a small r republican over the last 5 years. I respect the thought that she gives to everything.
She said frustrated voters see that the number of homeless people living in unsafe dilapidated vehicles and filthy encampments peppered with rats and rapists increases no matter how much money is spent or how the “crisis” is framed. “What you permit, you promote”, she says in a mom tone. There are almost 200 homelessness services contracts involved in what she describes as mostly “the failure industry”. We want to fund “the success industry, not the failure industry”, she says.
“Scrum, not waterfall” is her mantra. Martin says that the way to solve big complex problems is never with grand schemes based on unproven theories. That approach forces everyone to wait, wait, and wait some more until finally the irrelevant and bureaucratically obese organism gets yet more funding to keep failing. Think Seattle-King County’s approach to the homeless crisis, she says. No matter how you repackage it, waterfall won’t work. Scrum, on the other hand, puts agile promising prototypes into action quickly, tests them, improves them, quickly eliminates failures, and scales up success. She mentions Gresham, Oregon’s humane approach to homeless services as an example of a successful approach. We’ll all be hearing more about Waterfall and Scrum, I’m sure.
Martin said that the Mayor’s office and the Council Chambers should not be “safe spaces” that cultivate a lack of curiosity or full understanding of issues and opponent’s arguments. We both love a debate and I’ve debated her on many occasions. We agree that if you don’t know your opponent’s argument, you don’t know your own. I agree that more intellectual diversity is needed, so I look forward to her contribution.
“Wokism has become a cult of intolerance and Critical Theories indoctrination is brainwashing students”, Martin said. No intellectual diversity at the front of the classrooms on most college campuses and even many K-12 schools is tragic in her view. She doesn’t think enough people have realized how embedded anti-America, anti-motherhood, anti-whiteness, anti-family, anti-middle class and anti-science themes have been woven into the curricula. She rejects identity politics and cancel culture. Her position is that there is only one race, the human race. She agrees with Martin Luther King, Jr, that a person should be judged by their character, not their color.
She humorously describes herself as a biennial candidate, not to be confused with a perennial candidate. “I take my civic duty seriously and stand back up after a loss, reload, and go at it harder and smarter next time”, she says, and “It takes about 2 years for my campaign seeds to germinate.”
Divorced since 2018, Martin has lived in the Greenwood-Phinney neighborhood since 1986, and Capitol Hill before that since 1979. Kate thinks motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to her and has two grown sons, one in Seattle and one in NYC. She graduated from SUNY-Syracuse with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and has been making site plans and floor plans at her company, Kate Martin Design, for over 30 years. I watched her redesign and rebuild her house for sharing and appreciate the way she walks the talk with a half dozen housemates, 3 of their dogs and a cat.
Martin will narrow her campaigns down to one by the candidate filing deadline for King County Elections which is May 21, 2021. Her campaign website is https://electkatemartin.com where she clearly outlines her positions on the issues. Martin has pledged to qualify for Democracy Vouchers, a City of Seattle public campaign financing program. Her contact information, including her phone number, are on the website.
I’m glad to know her and wish her luck. I will continue to enjoy our debates.
Photo credits: R. McCoy