Seattle City Council member Lisa Herbold, a City Hall veteran for 21 years, says she's not done yet.
She announced her re-election bid for her West Seattle seat on Wednesday, saying she believes she has a track record of delivering for her district.
"I believe that public service is a source of pride, and I work hard to give the public a sense of their own agency, empower them so that they have more faith in their government to do its job," Herbold told PubliCola on Wednesday. "I've always been focused on pushing government to serve the greatest needs of those with the least, and to do it better."
Herbold got her start in 1997 when she was hired as council member Nick Licata's legislative aide after coordinating his campaign. She often worked behind the scenes but was instrumental in many of the policies sponsored by Licata—a hero for the far left who pushed for the head tax long before there was much support for it on the council.
As a council member Herbold picked up the mantle; she was a key player in the head tax the Seattle City Council passed, then repealed earlier this year, and championed the city's income tax bill. She's consistently been one of the most progressive council members over the past four years, alongside Kshama Sawant and Mike O'Brien.
While Herbold this year has an advantage as an incumbent, she could face another tough race if the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy—the political branch of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce—chooses an opponent to back.
In 2015 Herbold was outspent nearly three to one by supporters of Shannon Braddock, and most of the independent expenditures came from businesses.
"I've been the underdog before, and I suspect that dynamic will repeat itself," Herbold said.
Herbold enters the race with four other candidates, including Phillip Tavel—who didn't make it through the primary in 2015—and Jesse Greene, a small business owner who served on governor Jay Inslee's State Advisory Council on Homelessness.
When asked about how the council handled the head tax vote, Herbold said she's proud that the council started the discussion around the need for thriving companies to contribute more. But she now believes the council should've allowed a ballot measure to go through, she said.
"First off, the council was trying to solve a problem, a problem that is our greatest challenge in the city right now," Herbold said. "The bottom line is that we needed to find a way to raise more funds to pay for affordable housing, to meet that need."
Herbold said her biggest regret over her time on the council was not making more progress on displacement mitigation—which is what motivated her to run in the first place.
Still on her to-do list is making headway on the city's eviction policies and transportation needs. Like Licata, she's been a vocal critic of the center city streetcar and wants the city to reserve that money for more mass transit—adding that she thinks it's an example of her keeping government accountable on taxpayer money.
But Herbold said with district elections this year, she'll make the case to her voters that she's not only been active on citywide policy work, but basic services provided to the district.
"People running to be a district council member need to understand that the expectations that the public has for their elected officials...it's a higher bar than it used to be," Herbold said. "And that's good."