Kelly O

You're already a public servant as a project manager for the Seattle Department of Transportation. What made you want to run for public office?
In 2009, a coworker and I were trying to put together a policy that would encourage women and minority business owners to compete for city contracts, and she said to me, "We can't get this done without more authority behind us." And I replied, "How are we going to get that?" And she said, "You're going to run for city council." That planted the seed.

You're a big proponent of police accountability, you've lived in the Central District for 23 years, and you're black. Have you ever experienced discrimination by a Seattle Police Department officer?
SPD-specific instances, no—except maybe when I was pulled over in the Rainier Valley by three cop cars for a busted taillight. But police in general? Yes. I take off this suit and I'm a suspect. I'm working for the day when people like me and my neighbors don't have to be afraid of the police.

What current council member is your Tiger Beat crush, and why?
Nick Licata—he's driven by his values and his conscience and you see it in his work. Mike O'Brien has also done some good things on council, and I know he has a lot yet to do.

Support The Stranger

If elected, will you promise to introduce legislation for district elections or campaign-finance reform?
I can promise that. I believe we need both districting and public financing. It will take a lot of that downtown, major-money influence out of the process. I'm dead serious about this. We're not seeing the level of challengers that we should see, because of money. We need to level the playing field, because right now it's about as closed as I've ever seen it.

If you are elected, you're bound to disappoint The Stranger. What issue do you think we'll first disagree on?
Density development. I think we align on the issue, but it's a challenge how to navigate that with neighbors who don't want it. recommended

All Aboard: Sound Transit celebrates Pride Month
No matter where you were born, the color of your skin or who you love, all are welcome here.