On Tuesday, Roosevelt resident Ron Davis announced his campaign for the open District 4 seat on City Council, giving the University District, Wallingford, and Laurelhurst yet another progressive choice on the ballot.
Davis has spent years consulting start-ups and sitting on boards of urbanist-y organizations such as Futurewise and Seattle Subway. He was also a member of the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, which he said was not NIMBY. Now, Davis feels compelled to “get off the sidelines” and run for office, he said.
In a phone interview with The Stranger, Davis laid out his very fortunate come-up from humble beginnings. His parents had him as teenagers, and his dad didn’t secure a family-wage job until Davis turned 10. But Davis said he got “golden ticket after golden ticket” and wound up at Harvard, and then eventually landed in what he called the “comfortable professional class.” In other words, he’s a tech dude who married a doctor.
Those with similar privileges in Seattle like to call themselves “progressive” without actually fighting for progressive change at all, which frustrates Davis. “At a very basic level, I'm just like, super Irish. And that just really fucking pisses me off,” he said.
His frustration–Irish-related or not–grew when President Donald Trump took office in 2016. It blew off the charts when Trump still earned support in 2020 despite his status as a “neo-fascist.” That anger drove Davis to donate and knock doors. Now, he’s ready to leave his more lucrative professional life behind and apply for a new–but still pretty cushy–job at City Hall.
In that position, Davis basically wants to serve as the anti-Alex Pedersen, the current D4 Council Member who will not seek reelection. Pedersen made a reputation for himself as an anti-density NIMBY and a friend to Amazon in opposing progressive revenue.
“Pedersen is the embodiment of everything that makes [me] angry in Seattle politics,” Davis said.
Rather than bow to corporate power and NIMBYs, he wants to find new progressive revenue streams and bring a pro-density, urbanist vision to the comprehensive plan, which will guide growth in the city for the next decade.
His platform has attracted endorsements from King County Council Member Girmay Zahilay; Port Commissioners Sam Cho, Toshiko Hasegawa, and Ryan Calkins; School Board Director Chandra Hampson; Roosevelt Neighborhood Association Chair Jay Lazerwitz; plus a bunch of key organizers and activists in Democratic politics.
But he’s not the only anti-Pedersen candidate in the race. UW grad student and Democratic Socialist Matthew Mitnick also has his eye on the vacant seat. He’s a strong advocate for renters rights and social housing.
So far, Pedersen has not anointed a NIMBY successor, but perhaps Rep. Gerry Pollet will enter the race soon. Can’t wait!