Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata was named to The Nation magazine’s 2012 Progressive Honor Roll this week, along with other luminaries of the left, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow.
The magazine has called out progressives for the past decade and this year named Licata “Best Local Politician.” The Nation cited Licata’s work in support of Seattle’s new mandatory paid sick leave ordinance for workers, as well as his long-standing opposition to public subsidies for sports stadiums. This year, he was also instrumental in organizing a network of progressive local elected officials called “Local Progress,” the magazine said.
Calling Licata a “bold advocate for progressive populist ideas,” it noted that the Council veteran took on tough battles with a sense of humor, including his co-chairing of the group “Citizens for More Important Things.” The organization sponsored the successful city Initiative 91 in 2006, which requires that any public investment in a sports facility return a profit to the city.
The measure was one reason the Seattle City Council worked to revise a deal in September between San Francisco investor Chris Hansen, the city and King County to build a new sports arena with $200 million in public bonds. The revised deal calls for some of the tax revenue from the arena to go towards a transportation fund to improve freight mobility in the industrial Sodo neighborhood where Hansen wants to build the new arena.
Even with the changes, Licata voted against the arena deal, citing his long-standing objection to public funding for private sports ventures.
Licata said he didn’t know about The Nation award until a friend emailed congratulations. He said he went searching on the Internet and found himself, along with Sanders, Maddow’s election night coverage, Stephen Colbert and Wisconsin Sen.-elect Tammy Baldwin, a champion for working families who won election to the Senate in November.
“I’m blown away,” Licata said.