Jessyn Farrell, a rising star among Democrats in Olympia, aborts lawmaking career for shot at Seattle mayor. Friends and foes say the transit wonk “disagrees without being disagreeable.”
When Jessyn Farrell was 18, she was named the best student at a Seattle-area Japanese-language camp. The prize was a trip to Tokyo, and it made an impression.
“The transit system was amazing. Space is at a premium there,” she said, recalling her stay with a host family. “We talked about how having a car was an enormous privilege. That opened my eyes to how much space we have in our city.”
The memory is decades old but says something about Farrell and her odds in the Aug. 1 primary election. The 43-year-old, who left a statehouse seat to concentrate on running for mayor, is a high achiever with local roots, wonkishness and big-city sensibilities.
2017 Seattle mayoral race
Though she lacks the name recognition and campaign cash of some other candidates, her political profile could play well in a city experiencing tremendous growth.
“I love Seattle, but the traffic is unbearable and only wealthy people can afford to live here,” voter Jim Wilder told her recently at the Wallingford Farmers Market.
To address those problems, Farrell wants denser housing everywhere and better connections to light rail, goals that reflect her work as a transit adviser and advocate.
Popular with urbanists, some of whom see the Democrat as their candidate, and known to Northeast Seattle residents, who elected her three times to represent the 46th Legislative District, a challenge is to win over some voters outside those bases.
Before the Aug. 1 primary, The Seattle Times is profiling leading candidates for Seattle mayor, selected based on civic involvement, endorsements, campaign activity and money raised. Learn more about all 21 candidates in our interactive online voter’s…