City of Industry

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Some political observers call Sara Nelson the “conservative” among candidates for Seattle City Council Position 8. That says more about Seattle politics than it does about Sara Nelson, and neither observation touches on the truly unique aspect of her candidacy.

Nelson is a manufacturer.

She and her husband are co-owners of Fremont Brewing. Technically speaking, that’s a manufacturing firm. You have a better memory than we do if you can remember the last time someone from the production side of the economy ran for election in the Emerald City. Before teaming up at the family business, Nelson worked for a decade as an aide to Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin.

So, she’s not exactly Rex Tillerson on the industrial scale. But, Seattle being Seattle, she would not want to be Rex Tillerson. Yet, she is clearly the “business” candidate seeking a Council seat and, as the wags say, in the left listing Council, that makes one seem conservative, even if you aren’t, and Nelson isn’t. But she hopes to bring more balance to the council. Says Nelson:

“As the owner of a neighborhood small business, and a former City Council policy advisor, I know there is more the City could be doing to support our local business community. I’m running to add balance and common sense to City Council because lopsided leadership leads to lopsided policy and it’s time to add the fresh perspective of small business to City Hall.”

Nelson will speak at an industrial community forum in Georgetown on Wednesday June 28 that will help introduce candidates and issues relevant to local elections in November. All guests have good track records as advocates for industry.

Guests include incumbent Seattle Port Commissioners Stephanie Bowman and John Creighton, each up for re-election. Both deserve credit for the fight to bring pro basketball back to Key Arena at the Seattle Center and both were part of the historic achievement when the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma merged their marine cargo operations into the new Northwest Seaport Alliance.

Also appearing at the forum are John Persak and Peter Steinbrueck who are vying for an open port commission position vacated by Tom Albro. Persak is a longshoreman who has carved out a well-earned place for himself in Seattle civic affairs. Steinbrueck is a well-respected former City Councilmember with a strong background in urban land use.

The Port is coming off a bumpy year that included significant progress to bring the NBA back to Seattle, but also the contentious departure of former CEO Ted Fick; a staff pay bonus controversy, and the surprising rejection of Ivar’s Fish Bar as a tenant at Sea-Tac.

The forum will also include King County Assessor John Wilson. As the county assessor, Wilson is responsible for establishing property values for tax purposes. He is not up for re-election. But, he’s an expert on public policy tax issues and he’ll provide insights about various tax proposals swirling around City Hall and Olympia.

The June 28 forum will take place in the auditorium of Building C at the Georgetown Campus of South Seattle College. Guests will speak from 4-5:30 p.m. with refreshments and preliminaries beginning at 3:30. Admission is free but please RSVP to Becklynn Martin at the Manufacturing Industrial Council at 206-762-2470 or email her at