Field for Seattle mayor grows as homeless advocate announces candidacy
Despite a decision from Jenny Durkan to not run for reelection in 2021, the race to be Seattle’s next mayor has seen few people announcing campaigns early in the year. That changed Monday, with Chief Seattle Club Executive Director Colleen Echohawk announcing her candidacy.
Echohawk has served as a homelessness and housing advocate as part of her role with the Chief Seattle Club, with a focus on providing aid to the city’s Native American community. In 2019, Seattle Magazine named her one of the city’s most influential people, on a list that included Microsoft CEO Brad Smith, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Ivar’s President Bob Donegan, and Visit Seattle CEO Tom Norwalk, among others.
She also serves on the Community Police Commission and as a board member for the Downtown Seattle Association, and founded the Coalition to End Urban Native Homelessness. In 2020, she was awarded with the King County Council’s Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service.
“I love the city. I have been here for 20 years, I have worked hand in hand with some of our community organizations, with some of our elected leaders, with business. And over the years have just realized how much I believe in this city,” she said in a recent interview with KING 5.
Echohawk joins a relatively small early field of mayoral candidates, which includes urbanist architect Andrew Grant Houston, and affordable housing developer Lance Randall.
In early January, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda announced that she would instead be running for reelection to her current at-large council position rather than pursue a run for mayor. Mosqueda had long been rumored as a potential candidate to replace Durkan, who had announced in December that she wouldn’t be pursuing a second term as mayor.
That was a decision that potentially cleared the way for Council President Lorena Gonzalez, who is rumored to be considering a mayoral campaign of her own.
Gonzalez was appointed council president in 2020. She had previously intended to campaign for Washington Attorney General in 2019, back when it appeared as though Jay Inslee would be pursuing a lengthy run for president, which in turn would have seen current AG Bob Ferguson run for governor.
Although Gonzalez scuttled her campaign after it became clear that Inslee and Ferguson would both be running for reelection to their respective positions, it pointed to larger political ambitions for the at-large councilmember first elected in 2017.