Politics are heating up in South Seattle, where a new City Council candidate is calling her neck of the woods “neglected” in terms of public safety and economic development.
Tammy Morales, 45, who runs a food policy consulting business and who lives in Seward Park with her husband and children, announced Wednesday she will run for the council’s 2nd District seat as it moves to representation based on geographic districts for the 2015 elections.
The 2nd District, which stretches south from Sodo to Rainier Beach and east from Georgetown to Columbia City, is home to two current council members, Bruce Harrell and Sally Clark.
“I’ve seen the neglect in the south end for years,” said Morales, who slammed existing leadership but wouldn’t name names. “There’s palpable frustration in the communities right now. Somebody needs to champion the needs of the communities down here.”
Morales, who has never before run for public office, would face off against Harrell, a lawyer who played football at the University of Washington and who ran for mayor last year.
Harrell, like Morales, is running for the 2nd District seat in 2015, while Clark is pursuing one of two at-large positions.
Morales moved to Seward Park from Magnolia just two years ago, in 2012, but she says she has worked with South Seattle communities since 2000, when she moved to the city.
The new candidate, who holds a community planning master’s degree from the University of Texas, founded her business in 2008 and has advised the council on food policy.
Last year, her firm, Urban Food Link, helped the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment map supermarket, farmers market and produce stand access across the city.
Morales has some serious catching up to do. Harrell had collected $71,686 in campaign contributions as of Aug. 31, while Morales is just getting started.
She is soliciting donations via a new campaign website.
Harrell chairs the council’s committee on public safety, and the Seattle Police Department is undergoing a court-ordered reform process to address use of force and biased policing.
But Morales says the council needs to push the SPD harder to build trust between cops and South Seattle residents.
“We need some consistent pressure down here in terms of crime and police reform,” she said.
In addition to public safety, Morales says her campaign will focus on employment for 2nd District residents.
“We have no clear targets for what type of jobs we want to create and how many,” she said.
Morales says the city should be urging manufacturers with 100 to 200 jobs to open up shop in South Seattle, and she says she wants to help small local businesses grow.
The 2nd District needs a community college of its own, Morales says. South Seattle College is based in West Seattle.