Published July 24, 2015 – video interview below
Brianna Thomas, 33, a Junction resident, sees herself as a potential “translator” between generations, groups, other divided sectors of the public. She works as a field director for advocacy campaigns.
FIRST WSB REPORT ON HER CANDIDACY: February 11th announcement (also her first-ever WSB mention)
HOW DID SHE GET INTO COMMUNITY ORGANIZING? She started working with the Church Council in 2006: “I’m a natural-born organizer,” bringing people to the table who agree on an idea but “very much disagree on the details.” Start “in the middle with what you agree on, and it’s easier to build out”; when people get to the table, they’re ready to fight, so don’t start with what you disagree on.
WHAT ABOUT THE HALA RECOMMENDATIONS? They had just come out hours before our interview. The fact that 28 people worked for 10 months and came up with 65 recommendations “is hugely impressive.” The inclusion of a linkage fee and emphasis on mixed-income development impressed her. She is hopeful about advances on preventing displacement. (Later in the conversation, she mentioned that we’re “building a turnstile” because the buildings are mostly studios and one-bedrooms.)
SOLVING TRANSPORTATION TROUBLE: She is currently not a car owner (but points out she is also single, not a parent, not residing in a “food desert”). Catching a bus on the east side of The Junction, sometimes has one pass her by. She sees a “dogfight” in ST3: “We’re going to have to get light rail here.”
WILL SHE VOTE FOR THE ‘MOVE SEATTLE’ LEVY? Yes, but – she wishes it had more for District 1, and she wishes the city were less reliant on levies.
FIXING THE ‘FOOD DESERTS’ IN DELRIDGE AND SOUTH PARK: (She is a former SP resident, but before Stockbox’s time there.) “Pocket bodegas,” especially with culturally sensitive options, could help, especially with assistance from the city Office of Economic Development.
HER BIG ACHIEVEMENT: SeaTac’s $15-minimum-wage campaign, which preceded the Seattle campaign. “We worked in seven languages (with) 11,000 voters, and registered another thousand. … It was the first time I’d really worked with labor, and recognized the dynamics. … I had a Venn diagram on my mirror to get my thoughts out.”
BEING HERSELF: We observed during our conversation that we recalled a question at a forum which she answered frankly by saying she didn’t really know anything about the issue. “I don’t want to get stuck in the circle of tap dancing where you try to be everything and are never yourself.”
WHAT ‘BROKE (HER) HEART’ WHILE DOORBELLING: She had just gone around her part of West Seattle and three of the first five people she encountered told her they were leaving the area because the cost of living is just out of reach.
HOW DID SHE WIND UP IN WEST SEATTLE? She found herself here after living in several other Seattle neighborhoods, and decided to stay after realizing: “This is good.”
WHY VOTE FOR HER? As a younger, single renter (among other attributes), Thomas said, “I”m the person in the best position to be an ambassador between what’s great about West Seattle and what’s (who’s) coming to West Seattle … so we can get stuff done.”
SEE OUR INTERVIEW: We started by asking her to tell us about her work as an organizer.
SEE HER ON THE SEATTLE CHANNEL VIDEO VOTERS’ GUIDE: Here
CONTRIBUTORS’ LIST: Here