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Capitol Hill leader Egan Orion challenges Sawant in D3 race

Egan Orion announces he is running for Seattle City Council District 3 against Kshama Sawant. He was introduced by local drag queen Aleksa Manila. (Courtesy of Egan Orion)

Egan Orion has been a known figure among Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood for years. He’s executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber. He is credited with helping save the area’s PrideFest. Now he’s stepping into the city council race for District 3, facing off with incumbent Kshama Sawant.

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“A recent ‘documentary’ declared that Seattle is dying,” Orion said at a press event Tuesday announcing his campaign. “I believe that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is arguable more opportunity and prosperity in Seattle than there has ever been. But it has left many behind. Folks who can’t afford the high rents. Workers who don’t make a living wage. Families having to decide between having one kid or no children at all because the cost of living is so high. For these people, city government — including my opponent Kshama Sawant — have failed them.”

Orion continued to say that the current homeless problem is a shelter crisis, a mental health and addiction crisis, and affordability crisis.

He announced his campaign Tuesday, in Capitol Hill style, at an event on the corner of Broadway and Harrison.

“I’m a drug counselor by day, and a drag queen by night,” said Aleksa Manila, founder of Pride ASIA. “In those professions I have met a wonderful guy through the decades, a man we call Egan Orion … he is a wonderful, amazing man and I am so honored that he is venturing in to politics.”

“He is a man of his word, he is a man of honor, he not only thinks of things to create, he actually makes them and he doesn’t only make them for himself, he makes them for his community,” Manila said. “And I am part of his community. It is my pleasure and honor to introduce to all of you, running for City Council District 3, Mr. Egan Orion.”

Orion has lived in Seattle’s Central District for 17 years. He lived on Capitol Hill prior to that — both neighborhoods are within District 3. He also notes that his grandparents lived in the neighborhood in the 1930s — within sight of the corner where he made his announcement.

He argues that he has seen Councilmember Sawant ignore public issues, such as homelessness and public safety. It’s an opinion he has garnered as an active member of the Capitol Hill small business community. He also runs Seattle’s largest festival, Pridefest, which attracts 50,000 attendees.

Orion said that Sawant is not listening to constituents like him. He offered anecdotal evidence, heard among the Capitol Hill community.

“I know the day-to-day in District 3, because I am here every day doing the work to improve the lives of citizens and the prosperity of small businesses,” he said. “But where has Kshama Sawant been? The citizens of District 3 deserve someone who can build bridges, not burn them …. when I reached out to Kshama Sawant, I got no response. Even the day I went to go give public testimony at city council, she wasn’t on the dais. She had the day off. As has been the experience of many citizens and organizations in District 3, I had to go around her to get anything done.”

A full video of Orion’s announcement where he argues his qualifications can be seen here.

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