Topic: Kate Martin
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August 9, 2013 at 5:46 PM
One result of Seattle’s mayoral primary is that the city is guaranteed to maintain its 85-year streak of men running City Hall.
As I wrote earlier this year, Seattle has not elected a woman as mayor since 1926, when Bertha K. Landes became the first female mayor of a major American city. Landes lasted a single two-year term before being dumped in favor of a little-known businessman, Frank Edwards.
Since then, no woman has even reached the general election in a Seattle mayoral race — a streak that seems to belie the city’s progressive self-image. Of Seattle’s 53 mayors, all have been white men except for the city’s first black mayor, Norm Rice, who served from 1989 to 1997.
The result this year was no big surprise. Studies show the main reason women are underrepresented in political offices — especially among big-city mayors — is that well-qualified women fail to run.
The three women who appeared on this year’s ballot – Kate Martin, Mary Martin and Joey Gray — were not well-known and ran shoestring campaigns.
But should the three women have finished at the bottom of the mayoral heap? Doug McQuaid, a little-known lawyer, managed to place sixth despite skipping much of the campaign.
I asked Kate Martin, the Greenwood activist who placed seventh despite working hard throughout the campaign, whether she was surprised that McQuaid got more votes. She emailed that it was not too shocking, given that McQuaid’s name appeared first on the ballot – a position that has been shown to give candidates a small advantage.
“I’m happy with the issues and ideas I put out there, but I think I was in the wrong race overall,” Martin said. She said she should have run for City Council instead, and is considering her options down the road.
December 17, 2012 at 2:36 PM
Kate Martin, a neighborhood activist from Mayor Mike McGinn’s own neighborhood, has announced she will join the race for mayor in 2013. Martin, who lost a 2011 race for Seattle School Board, said she knows the mayor well from their work together on the Greenwood Community Council. She did not vote for him in 2009, she said, and they are nothing alike.
“I’m a planner, Mike’s a lawyer. We come from completely different perspectives,” she said. “The way we argue things, completely different.”
Martin, 55, owns a design business. She’s married to a chef and has two grown children.
She made headlines in 2005 for building a skate park in her front yard. In 2009, she got so angry at administrators at Roosevelt High School that police had to escort her from the building.
She ran for School Board on a platform of giving individual schools more freedom and establishing a mentorship program, but lost to incumbent Sherry Carr.
As mayor, she said, she would replace the police chief and hire someone the next generation could respect. And she said she would work to collaborate with the school system.
“I think everybody lobs bombs at the school district, but I really don’t see that they actually understand what the issues are and how all of us could actually contribute to the solutions,” she said.
She also wants to build more sidewalks and restructure the city’s utility rates so they are more fair to families. Currently, households that use more electricity pay a higher rate. That’s not fair to households of several people, she said.
Martin knows she’s up against a crowded field of well-known candidates. Eleven months from the election, City Council member Tim Burgess, State Senator Ed Murray, and local businessman Charlie Staadecker have all announced campaigns. City Council member Bruce Harrell, former City Council member Peter Steinbrueck, and former King County Executive Ron Sims are all thinking about it. But Martin said she will be set apart by the fact that she’s not a career politician. She’s also the only woman in the race.
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