A week and a half after State Senator Sharon Nelson announced she won’t run for re-election, the first candidate has come forward: Shannon Braddock, who narrowly lost the first-ever District 1 race for City Council in 2015. The announcement from her campaign:
Democrat Shannon Braddock, a longtime advocate for children and senior member of County Executive Dow Constantine’s administration, has announced that she will run for the State Senate in District 34, which includes West Seattle, North Highline, Vashon and Maury Islands, and parts of Burien. Braddock, who previously served as Chief of Staff to County Councilmember Joe McDermott, is seeking to replace Majority Leader Sharon Nelson, who is retiring.
“I’m excited to bring the progressive values of our region to the State Senate, where we need to continue working to pass common sense gun laws, invest in early learning, provide behavioral health and addiction support that restores lives, and reform taxes to help working and middle-class families,” said Braddock, mother of three Seattle Public Schools students. “I’m grateful for Senator Nelson’s leadership on so many issues and helping break partisan logjams preventing action on regional priorities. It’s been a privilege to work on behalf of the district the past 8 years and I look forward to joining our strong 34th District legislative team in taking on the tough issues and making real progress for local communities.”
Braddock is on the board of WestSide Baby, a volunteer-based organization that provides support to low-income mothers and their babies and she previously served on the Board of the West Seattle Food Bank. At the County, she helped ensure passage of the highly successful Best Starts for Kids programs—targeting resources to early learning, behavioral intervention, and other critical investments.
“I’ve always focused on issues that help give kids the best start in life, and the opportunities to thrive,” said Braddock. “This is why I am so passionate about expanding early learning, so we don’t rely on local governments to fill the gaps that should be part of a comprehensive state investment in the education and welfare of all children, regardless of zip code or economic status.”
Braddock is also committed to carrying the passion and energy of the thousands of local students who marched for stronger gun laws to Olympia, consistent with her commitment to healthy children and families.
“The safety and well being of our kids in school is something we took for granted too long and is at risk of being dangerously exploited by the cynical gun lobby and their allies in the White House,” said Braddock. “We must take real action on removing guns—and access to guns—from the hands of young people, dangerous individuals, and those most at risk of violence. We have the tools to save lives. We need to stop making excuses and allowing the NRA to tell us there is nothing we can do other than arm teachers. Let’s get real about this crisis and put kids ahead of the gun lobby.”
Braddock has worked regionally on coordinating and seeking reforms in the delivery of mental, health, addiction, and homelessness services, including working to pass the successful Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services levy renewal in 2017. She views Olympia as a needed partner in helping remove the burden on local taxpayers to address a statewide crisis.
“Local voters and cities across the region have stepped up to do their part to tackle the related crises of addiction and homelessness,” said Braddock. “But we need more from the State to provide uniform access to early intervention and treatment, transitional programs that prevent relapse, training in life and job skills that restore lives and to rebuild self-sufficiency. We can and must address these issues in a more comprehensive, compassionate way.”
Braddock says she will begin knocking on doors throughout the district and will announce a formal campaign kickoff for later in the Spring.
“I’m thrilled for this opportunity and look forward to meeting with voters, union workers, small business owners, community leaders, and families about how we can improve our communities,” said Braddock. “While Washington, DC may be trying to take us in the wrong direction, we must move forward here in Washington State with progressive policies and leadership that brings every voice to the table.”
The official filing period isn’t until mid-May. One otherwise-likely candidate has already announced he’s NOT in the running: State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, who says he’ll run for House re-election instead.