Getting to Know Colleen Echohawk, Seattle Mayoral Candidate

Getting to Know Colleen Echohawk, Seattle Mayoral Candidate

Today on the show  Seattle mayoral candidate Colleen Echohawk joins Crystal to talk about  her plans to tackle the homelessness crisis within 14 months, how she  will reform public safety, and why indigenous perspectives and  leadership are so important in our country.

As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at

Find the host, Crystal Fincher on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today’s guest, Colleen Echohawk, at @ccechohawk. More info is available at


“The  COVID pandemic split the King County homeless system in two. A year  later, the differences remain stark” by Sydney Brownstone:

“COVID-19 and the overwhelming demand for basic needs” by Andrea Caupain Sanderson:

“How Compassion Seattle could shape the mayoral race” by Joni Balter:

“Echohawk Emergency Housing Action Plan” from the Echohawk campaign:

Community Police Commission Recommendations tracker:

“Where Seattle is on police reforms, one year after protests” by David Kroman:

“Afternoon  Fizz: ‘A Dictator Posturing As a Mayor,’ Another Preventable Disease  Outbreak, and CPC Challenges Cops’ Crowd Control Plans” from Publicola:


Crystal Fincher: [00:00:00]  Welcome to Hacks and Wonks. I'm your host, Crystal Fincher. On this  show, we talk to political hacks and policy wonks to gather insight into  local politics and policy through the lens of those doing the work and  provide behind-the-scenes perspectives on politics in our state. Full  transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at and in our episode notes.

Today we are so excited to have joining us, candidate for Seattle mayor, Colleen Echohawk. Thank you so much for being here.

Colleen Echohawk: [00:00:59] Thank you. I'm so glad to be with you today, Crystal.

Crystal Fincher: [00:01:01] Yeah. Okay, so I'm excited. What actually caused you to want to join this mayor's race at this time?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:01:10]  Well, thank you for asking the question because if you had told me like  a year ago that I would be doing this, I would be surprised. I think  that there's two things that really propelled me into this race. Number  one is I work with our homeless community, I've supported our homeless  community for many years now - believe in them deeply. And I am just so  frustrated about what has happened. We've had almost six years of a  state of emergency and the crisis has only gotten worse.

There  were moments through the pandemic - the second thing that just really  pushed it - where our homeless community, our larger community, was just  in pain and in agony because we were shutting down libraries, we were  shutting down community centers, we were shutting down my own Day  Center. Then we were telling people, "You have to wash your hands. That  is sanitation. That's how you're going to keep COVID away." And then our  homeless community was just left out in the rain to just have to poop  on the sidewalk because there is no bathrooms. And it just got to a  point where I just felt like - if I have some skill in this role, and I  do, and if I can bring that to the mayor's office and offer that kind of  leadership to actually solve this problem on behalf of the 12,000 plus  people who are experiencing homelessness, then I should step up. There's  just a real crisis of Black, indigenous, and people of color  communities are vastly overrepresented and we haven't had enough  leadership that represents our community. So that was the other part of  just-- I was raised to step up to situations and that's what I'm doing.

Crystal Fincher: [00:03:00]  Well, you certainly bring up a lot of correct and valid issues that -  man, this pandemic really did lay bare the inequities that already  existed and then made them worse - and specifically with our unhoused  community. There's an initiative right now, Compassionate Seattle that -  frequently, initiatives are responses to a failure of leadership and as  you said, we've had this crisis for quite some time. This initiative is  now up. We've talked about it before on the show. I guess I'm  wondering, one, do you support Compassionate Seattle? And if not, how  does your vision differ?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:03:39]  Yeah. Well, I think that what we're seeing, and you've talked about  this already, is that this is what happens when you declare an emergency  and the problem only gets worse for the next five years. We have people  trying to fill the vacuum that was created by years of inaction at City  Hall. I, in some ways, and, well, in many ways, I appreciate that  someone is trying to get something done. I appreciate that. That is a  good thing.

I think  something that's really hard for me with Compassion Seattle is that  people that I have worked with for years and years, people who are  national leaders around homelessness, they helped really craft this. I  saw the very first draft, and then I saw the last draft. We all can see  the last draft, and it's night and day from what it looked like. But I  think there's some very significant problems. The number one thing is  that the funding - that is not at all adequate funding just to solve  this crisis that we're in, so that's the number one thing. The second  thing is it's weird to change the City Charter. I don't think that's a  good way to do governance - it's like amending the Constitution. I just  don't think that's the right way of doing it. And then, third and  probably the most important piece, is that they did not spend enough  time working with our Lived Experience Coalition. There were a couple of  people who had lived experience of homelessness, who did give their  opinions and were part of the final design, but I think that we have a  very strong Lived Experience Coalition. I think they should have a say  in this.

So, I am  struggling with it because of all those factors. I don't think I will  personally vote for it. But I am supportive that people want to do  something and have pushed this forward - and we'll see what happens. I  think that there is a lot of opposition - even on the right - to it,  which is fascinating. But what I hear and I see from Compassion Seattle  is that people are frustrated and angry that we have not done this work  in the way that we should, and they want to get something done.

Crystal Fincher: [00:06:00]  Okay, so what I heard from you wasn't quite a No - you're struggling  with it, and you've certainly identified some of the issues that a lot  of people have with it. I guess one of the opportunities that you have  is - if you're elected mayor, that you get to fill that leadership  vacuum that created this initiative anyway. So why not just vote no and  then do what you should be doing in the first place?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:06:23]  Well, I just said that I'm not going to vote Yes on it. I think that  the hard thing for me, like I mentioned earlier, and we actually talked  about this before starting - is I have some really good people, friends,  who were a part of it and I see why it's so hard. But I think the  funding mechanism is the main reason that I'm not going to vote for it. I  think we have to have more robust funding mechanisms.

In  our plan, that we have on our website, and invite people to take a look  at it - in fact, we're going to drop some really nuts and bolts things  today - goes far beyond what the Compassionate Seattle initiative has.  We're calling it 22 steps to get all the people that are outside into  housing in 14 months. I think that having 1,000-2,000 emergency housing  units is not enough. These are human beings, these are children, these  are elders. We have to have initiative right now - treat this truly like  the emergency that it is - and get people inside. And that's what I'll  do if elected mayor.

Crystal Fincher: [00:07:35]  What are some of those steps? What are some of the specifics that  people can see you take - that demonstrate you're treating it like the  crisis that it is - and that actually work to solve the problem and  you're laying out in 14 months? That's ambitious.

Colleen Echohawk: [00:07:48]  Yeah. Well, it's ambitious and it comes from years of experience of  working with our homeless community. The number one thing, the moment  that I am elected, we will use the transition period to identify hotels,  identify unused land, identify - if it's tiny homes or whatever - find  those spaces immediately so that the moment we get into office, we can  just hit the ground running on getting this work done. We know that  we're going to have to have an all-of-the-above approach on the  emergency housing. And I do want to say something quickly - one of the  answers and the biggest answer to homelessness is permanent housing.  That's just the reality. We have to have that in our minds and  recognizing that as a goal. But while we're doing that, we also have to  have the emergency housing that gets up and running. And so, we will use  all-of-the-above approach, find the land so we can move all the RVs  onto that land, and offer really good services.

We  have a plan for a 100 outreach workers to build those relationships.  The outreach workers we help to hire from the Lived Experience Coalition  and other folks with lived experience, and build those relationships.  We saw, through the pandemic, the program Just Cares. I was honored to  participate in that program. We were able to build those relationships  in those encampments, move the entire encampment into a hotel. And they  went willingly - we weren't sweeping people. They were just going  because it was a better option. And so-

Crystal Fincher: [00:09:37] Well, that's a good point.

Colleen Echohawk: [00:09:37] Yeah.

Crystal Fincher: [00:09:38] Do you ever see a reason to sweep people?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:09:41]  No. No. I think that with good engagement - with talented and good  outreach - you don't have to sweep. You can go out there and build that  relationship and get folks into housing and security. These are human  beings. Let's not forget that. That's the other thing that I think - the  reason I'll be a good mayor is that these are not numbers to me. These  are people that I know, and love, and appreciate - and I'm willing to  get out there and take the responsibility to find the kind of housing  that's going to work for them. This is an opportunity for Seattle - we  either can create the right leadership in the mayor's office or not. We  have to do something. These folks deserve for someone to fight for them,  and I will be that person to fight for them.

Crystal Fincher: [00:10:39]  When you talk about - certainly, permanent housing is the ultimate  solution to homelessness - we also have an affordability crisis. How do  you address that? What's the answer?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:10:53]  Yeah. We are quickly moving towards - only the very, very rich can  enjoy this city. Honestly, that really bothers me. This is a Native  city, this is a Coast Salish city. We have legislation in 1865 that said  Native people cannot be in the city limits. We pushed out our  Muckleshoot community, whose land we're on right now - the City of  Seattle is. And so, we have to find ways to stop the gentrification and  to bring back our community into Seattle. We need to really understand  the affordability crisis, and that's going to be rezoning. There's just  no way around it. We, in our campaign, are talking about the middle.  What does that look like? How can we get there? There are ways that we  can do the rezoning work with the neighborhoods, with public space  designers, and make sure that we are doing it in a good way. But we  cannot continue as we are.

Crystal Fincher: [00:12:04]  What is that way? We hear about NIMBYism. We hear people vehemently  opposed to changing the culture of the neighborhood and wanting things  to maintain exactly the way that they are. And people - they're afraid  of their property values and all of that - so what is the answer? How do  you see you can come to - what is that middle ground?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:12:29]  Yeah. You're hitting the proverbial nail on the head. I think a big  part of what we are missing is vision. That has been something that was  frustrating for me from our current mayor and the previous mayor as well  - not communicating effectively about what this city should look like,  and even not communicating what the plan is around homelessness or  whatever issue that we're dealing with. As mayor of the City, I will be  communicating - I will let people know what the plans are, and I also  hope to really help people understand a vision for equity and racial  justice in our city.

We  have to realize - I drove through Ballard the other day. There's Black  Lives Matter signs in so many houses all through Ballard. If you believe  that Black Lives Matter, then you believe Black people deserve great  housing in our city. If you believe Black Lives Matter, then you believe  that that kid in the South End who has high rates of asthma and going  back and forth into the emergency room all the time because of the air  quality, you believe that we have to make changes and implement our  climate policies. I am going to help our region - help Seattle -  understand what it truly means when we grab onto these slogans. That  will be my vision. That will be what I will be very clear about from the  get-go and through this campaign. And so, we have to just understand,  and if we really want to be a progressive city and live out these  values, then we're going to have to change.

Crystal Fincher: [00:14:26]  You talk about that - so many people do have those signs in there. I've  talked about before - allyship is a verb - and does raise the question,  "Are you acting like those Black lives matter or is that just a  convenient sign to have in the yard?" I do think that that value is  shown through zoning. I also think that value is shown through how we  keep each other safe, and protect our neighbors, and relate to each  other. That certainly has to do with the conversation around policing  and public safety here.

You  were appointed by the former mayor to the Community Police Commission.  Just looking at the work that you've done there and the insight that you  have - what do you think was positive - from what you did from the  Community Police Commission? Where do you think we need to go,  specifically policy-wise, with policing in Seattle?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:15:21]  Well, I love that you said the positive part of it. That's important. I  want to recognize that. There are some incredibly dedicated people in  the Community Police Commission - Reverend Walden. There's just a  tremendous amount of people who have ensured that our police  accountability that is in place right now through the consent decree -  that it happened. We have certainly had rousing meetings. If you've  never gone to a Community Police Commission meeting, they're lively -  let's say that - because the issue is so close to home. As leader of the  Chief Seattle Club, we serve the family of John T. Williams. It is very  close - many of the people that I know and love walked alongside John  T. Williams all the time, and they are petrified and afraid of Seattle  Police Department.

We have  many people, and I don't know if folks recognize this - in our homeless  community - sadly, we have physical and sexual assaults that happen.  They will not report. They do not want to talk to Seattle Police  Department and they continue to have to deal with so much trauma that we  can't actually wrap our arms around because of the fear of Seattle  Police Department. And so, the work there has to change.

I'm  also really proud of the Seattle Community Police Commission - that we  stood against the 2018 contract. I personally went with members of the  Commission to the mayor's office and we pleaded with her to not move  forward with this contract. And now we can see, over the summer, the  terrible outcome of that. I have competitors - opponents - in this race  who voted for that contract. As we move forward in police  accountability, we need to have a leader who is going to be courageous  and take a stand. That's going to be with-- the two most important  things we're going to see come out in the new mayor's office is hiring  the chief of police and, of course, the contract. Both of those places  will require community-led focus and work with the Community Police  Commission. One of the things that has been hard as a Community Police  Commissioner - is that we often are ignored by the mayor's office - time  after time after time. In fact, there's now a dashboard on the  Community Police Commission website that shows all the times that we've  been ignored.

I am  committed to that commission. I'm committed to actually, having been  there, increasing the power and authority of that commission. And not  just the commission - I want to be working with the community as well.  The commission can only represent so much. But we are committed, and you  can see this in our plan on the website, to bi-monthly meetings with  community around policing and making sure that we are understanding  where we're headed as a city.

Crystal Fincher: [00:18:48]  Well, and you mentioned the two big things - they're huge - in terms of  the Seattle Police Officers Guild contract, in addition to hiring a new  police chief. With that contract, I mean, that dictates so much - even  beyond the police chief's control. I guess the first question is, would  you need the 2017 ordinance to be included in that contract? If it  didn't include those elements, would you sign that contract? What are  the bright lines for you when it comes to that negotiating and what you  need to see from that contract - to make sure that it's going to serve  the residents - all of the residents of Seattle?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:19:25]  I think that the crowd control issue is something that is on top of  mind for our residents in Seattle. Demilitarizing the police. Those are  the things, to me, that are top priorities when it comes to the  contract. We cannot relent. We have to have better outcomes when we - we  will have other protests. That is clear. We're going to have more  protests. I am behind that. I know it can help, that it can make change.  But we have to make sure that crowd control - what happened over the  summer - never happens again.

And  so, those are two places in the contract that are going to be key for  me. The other thing, and the state legislature has pushed some of this  far, and hopefully we can go even further in future legislative sessions  - but we have to hire a chief of police that will truly hold our police  department accountable. And what I mean by that is that right now, when  a chief... Which by the way, chief... That, to me-

Crystal Fincher: [00:20:45] Yeah. You know what? Yep.

Colleen Echohawk: [00:20:47]  ... it's weird. It's weird. I think Toronto has changed that from a  word that has been co-opted from the Native community. It's a very weird  thing, but it is what it is.

Crystal Fincher: [00:21:02]  We could do a whole show. There is so much language that even just  internally, in my business, that we've talked about, that is so common  in business language and common language, that is just co-opted there.

Colleen Echohawk: [00:21:15] It is.

Crystal Fincher: [00:21:16] It really is discomforting.

Colleen Echohawk: [00:21:20]  It is discomforting. It's not something that is helpful in our work  towards equity. But anyways, it is what it is. The chief of police will  need to be holding folks accountable - that means disciplining and not  being afraid of disciplining. That means when we fire someone, and then  it goes to the arbitration board, and they come back and they say, "You  know what? You have to keep this person in the department." Our plan  says that person never goes near public.

And  I can tell you from personal experience about that - is that I have  seen with my own eyes a Seattle police officer follow a native homeless  man who is - he jaywalked in Pioneer Square. Everyone jaywalks in  Pioneer Square. He's jaywalking and eventually they take him to the  ground and I saw it, I put in my protest at Office of Police  Accountability. They said, "No, sorry. The officer was fine. He was  doing his job." But what was weird to me is that later on I had someone  in our organization, another staff member say, "Hey, Colleen, look at  this video." It was a YouTube video - that same exact officer and that  same exact man - going at it again and taking him down to the ground  again. I cannot believe that that was not intentional - that jaywalking,  with the same guy, same officer. And so, when we know that an officer  has been disciplined for something like that, that officer doesn't get  back on the street.

I'm  going to hire a chief of police that will say, "You know what, I'm going  to follow the direction of the mayor. We're not going to have bad cops  out there on the street. We just cannot do it." That's something that is  doable right now, right? Because the contract is the contract - I  believe in arbitration, we've got to support our unions. But we can  actually do something to keep bad cops off the street. And that's one of  the key components of our plan. I feel it so deeply - I've experienced  it myself and we have to do better. We have to change.

Crystal Fincher: [00:23:33]  So I just wanted to clarify - do you support the 2017 Police  Accountability Ordinance and including that as a minimum or requirement  in a new police contract?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:23:46]  Yeah. Absolutely, and I appreciate you saying a minimum because there  are things about the 2017 accountability that we need to take further. I  mentioned in our earlier conversation that I've put in my own  complaints to the Office of Police Accountability, and I did not get  responses that were adequate. So we need to change some of those things  there. I think that the next contract - we should make it even stronger,  have more accountability. Also, one thing that I really care  tremendously about is that we find ways to ensure that the Community  Police Commission has a stronger voice. That's something I would also be  advocating for in the contract that's coming up.

Crystal Fincher: [00:24:30] Well, we are also still in the middle of a pandemic.

Colleen Echohawk: [00:24:32] Yeah.

Crystal Fincher: [00:24:34]  We can see the end, hopefully - and Seattle's doing a job that's better  than most in terms of vaccination rates. Still, definitely, improvement  can be made. But there's still a lot of people struggling. There's  still a lot of people out of work. We saw where a lot of the haves  didn't really feel much pain throughout the pandemic. But, man, the  have-nots have been hurting, are hurting worse, and they're still  hurting. People in Seattle, from service workers to artists, are still  out of work. A lot of our small businesses are still trying to figure  out a way to stay afloat, if they haven't already been forced to close.  What do you see as the path forward? I guess, starting with, do you  support the JumpStart Tax?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:25:24]  Absolutely. Yes. We have to have further revenue and we have to do  better of ensuring that our communities - I come from the Native  community - the Black community, the other people color communities,  that we are accessing these resources that are coming out of City Hall.  The Office of Economic Development - they had grants. But those grants -  I'm dying to do an audit on those. I am almost sure that our small  businesses who are BIPOC did not have fair access to those.

I  asked - I get my nails done, and I went and was talking to my friend  who owns the business. She's Vietnamese, English is the second language -  she's an incredible, incredible human. I said, "Well, did you get a  grant?" And she said, "Nope." I said, "Did you get PPP?" "No." I think  that as mayor, because I come from a place of working for some of the  most vulnerable people in our community - that's my lens. Those are the  people that I'm going to be thinking about and wanting to hear their  voices, wanting to see their leadership, and make sure that that person  out there in this nail salon and suffering through this crisis. I'm so  glad that her business is up and running, but it is still - there's a  lot of people who were getting their nails done who aren't back.

So  that, to me, is of utmost importance. I am eager to get in there and be  supporting communities of color. The other thing I'll add, just around  the pandemic, is health equity. One of the things that just really  pushed me into doing this, as well - is understanding how COVID impacted  communities of color - understanding that as a Native woman, I was much  more likely to be hospitalized If I contracted COVID, much more likely  to die of COVID. That was something that was just so hard for us when we  were working with our homeless community, who are Native - was we had  people out there who their first language was their Native language, and  there's not many people like that anymore. We had people who know the  culture in a way that no one else knows because there's so few of us  left. Keeping those elders alive was such a big priority for me during  this pandemic.

So health  equity will be of utmost importance. I've been meeting regularly with  Black birth workers and talking to them about what our plans could be in  the mayor's office, and we'll continue to flesh out those policies. But  I can tell you that health equity will be a lens for me. One of the  folks that are endorsing me, that I'm very proud of, is Dr. Ben  Danielson. I will be asking for his advice and mentorship through this  process of what we should be doing to understand the health impact, and  the long-term health impacts of COVID on our community, and especially  some of our communities that were hit the hardest by it.

Crystal Fincher: [00:28:53]  Well, there are a few Seattleites with more credibility when it comes  to health equity and just overall community health than Dr. Ben  Danielson. So it would be great to know that he would be an advisor to  the mayor's office. I guess, looking at that - what do we need to do,  moving forward, in terms of - you talked about disparate impacts to  BIPOC people in communities. Pollution - lots of times people think of  climate change - in addition, pollution, are two big issues facing all  of our community, but particularly the BIPOC community. How can you  impact that? What plans do you have as mayor to reduce pollution and the  effects of that - that are literally taking years off of the life of  residents here in the City? It's very different, depending on what your  zip code is. What can you tangibly achieve?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:29:57]  Yeah. There's a lot out there that is super exciting. We're working  around food access and food sovereignty systems, working with the  Muckleshoot tribe. We have Valerie Segrest who's supporting our campaign  and is helping lead some of that policy. Public transportation is a big  part of what we need to do in order to change our outcomes around  carbon emissions. 60% of our carbon emissions right now are coming from  cars. So I am a huge proponent of more transportation making Seattle  truly workable. Right now it's too hard to connect to things.

In  2018, my family and I were able to go to Japan. That city - man, it  just - that country, Tokyo specifically, works. You can just be on  public transportation. And so, we have to have vision for that. But  beyond all that, there's a lot of policies out there - we're pushing out  our own policies, everyone on the campaign trail right now is pushing  out policies. But we've had policy after policy after policy - and every  year, our carbon emissions get worse. I'm curious what 2020 will look  like because of COVID. But there's a disconnect, and what we have to  realize is that we need courageous leadership. We need someone who is  going to say, "We are going to get there. We are going to become  denser." That's the other issue - we have policy, we know what the  policies are - but will we have the courage to change, is something that  I am thinking about all the time.

My  whole career has been about making change. My whole career has been  about standing up and saying, "Hold on a second. How can that be, and  how can we ensure that our communities of color, our Native communities  are going to thrive in these situations?" And so, I will bring that same  lens to the mayor's office. It is time for us to get serious about  climate change. And the other thing I'll add to that is - I'm really  excited about working with our tribes who have a  government-to-government relationship with the city of Seattle, which is  Suquamish and Muckleshoot. I like to say that we'll know that we have  turned the corner on climate change when you look at a Puget Sound and  it's abundant, full of orcas - because then we know that our salmon are  in clean water and they are thriving. And then we know that our kid out  in the South End is breathing clean air - and it is a part of a whole  system. That's where I want us to get to. That's my vision. We have to  be able to make those changes, and have the vision for it, and make it  happen.

Crystal Fincher: [00:32:58]  You mentioned that the proportion of pollution that is directly  attributable to cars and vehicles - at least one of your opponents is  highly in support of free transit for all. Do you also support that?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:33:15]  Yeah. I'm worried about the funding. But absolutely, I think that there  is such - it would make the difference. I think that people would get  out there and get on public transportation if it was free, but I don't  know exactly how we're going to pay for that. But we do have - we have a  friend in the White House, at last. And looking at those federal  dollars is something that I will be aggressive about. I have a pretty  good track record of raising money. My agency at Chief Seattle Club -  we're raising tons and tons of money. I have gotten very good at doing  that - and I will do that at the federal level, I'll do that at the  local level - and get those dollars in. I'm sorry, I got a little  sidetracked about raising money there because I get excited about that.  But yes, free transit is a really, really great idea. But as the CEO of  the City, the mayor of the City, you've got to know where the dollars  are coming from, and that's the only concern. I would love to see that.

And  we already are doing some good things there. The ORCA LIFT program is  really powerful, it's doing good things. And I think finding ways to  make sure that that is more accessible to our community should be a  priority of our mayor.

Crystal Fincher: [00:34:39]  So you wouldn't stand in the way of the policy, but finding funding for  it may not be a priority of a Echohawk administration.

Colleen Echohawk: [00:34:48]  My first priority of an Echohawk administration is to solve the crisis  of homelessness. Having 5,000-6,000 people sleeping outside - I feel  like it's immoral in a city like Seattle. And so that will be my first  priority. That's where any funding that we have out there - it's got to  go towards that. And then, once we get that settled, we have a 14-month  plan for getting folks who are living outside inside. Then I'll be  looking at other priorities like free transit, because it is a beautiful  idea and I would love to see that happen.

Crystal Fincher: [00:35:26]  So in a sea of candidates who are saying that addressing the  homelessness crisis is also a priority, what will - from a voter's  perspective, from a resident's perspective - how will an Echohawk  administration be visibly, tangibly different than all of your  competitors?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:35:45]  Well, I think number one is that I have a proven track record of  solving homelessness. In the past seven years at Chief Seattle Club,  we've housed 681 people. We're building $180 million of affordable  housing. I'm the only candidate that's built affordable housing. It's  also the main reason I'm jumping into this race. I am not going to be a  career politician. I am jumping in this race because I am frustrated, I  care about our homeless community, I care about our larger community,  and I have the skills to get it done. I think that is something that  truly sets me apart. No one else has ever been successful at actually  housing people, and I care about them. I was taught to jump in when  there is people who are hurting. I grew up with parents who literally  would pick up hitchhikers off the side of the road, and then they would  live in our house if they were homeless. That is where I come from. And  so, that's what I'll bring to the mayor's office.

Crystal Fincher: [00:36:57]  I mean, and you say you don't want to be a career politician, so do you  have a term limit in mind? I always wonder that when people say that.  Is there a maximum term that separates you from being a politician to a  career politician?

Colleen Echohawk: [00:37:10]  I don't know. This is hard. Everyone was like, "Colleen, campaigning is  hard. Being in this world is hard," and it is. And so, I don't know how  much of this I want to do. I think that if we're successful in our  first year, which I think we will - in our first four years, which I  think we will be. I think that the City of Seattle needs to have a  two-term mayor. We haven't had one in a really, really long time, and we  need some consistency. It's part of the reason that our climate policy  hasn't gotten to where we want it to get. So that could be it.

But  I don't have any ambitions to be a Governor or a Senator, or - I like  Seattle. When I was thinking about doing this, I had an opportunity come  up in DC. And I was talking about my sister who lives in DC - she's  like, "Colleen, why would you do that? You love Seattle. That's your  place." And I was like, "Okay." That was helpful for me. Seattle's my  place. I look forward to - I have a lot of other things I want to do in  my lifetime. But if I can support our community now, I really believe  that you should do that.

Well,  and the other thing that's exciting for me is that - to be the first  woman mayor, indigenous mayor of a major city is really cool for me. I  have a daughter who has the most incredible leadership skills. When she  was three, she told me she wanted to be the leader who's in charge of  the other leaders. I love that. I'll never forget it. I mean, she should  be President of the United States someday. If she can see that her mom,  a Native woman, was able to be the mayor of a major city in this  country, and is willing to take on the hard parts of it - because it is  hard. She's saying to me sometimes like, "Wait, you're not getting done  with work until like 8:30?" or whatever. But I want her to see that  Native leadership and indigenous perspective's important for our  country, and I love that part of it. It's something that we need. I want  my daughter to see that you can do it, and that you should do it - if  you have a call for leadership and you have a call to serve the  community, so that part is pretty cool.

Crystal Fincher: [00:39:49]  Well, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today and have  this conversation, and look forward to seeing how the race unfolds.

Colleen Echohawk: [00:39:56] Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Crystal Fincher: [00:39:59]  Thank you for listening to Hacks and Wonks. Our chief audio engineer at  KVRU is Maurice Jones Jr. The producer of Hacks and Wonks is Lisl  Stadler. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, spelled  F-I-N-C-H-F-R-I-I, and now you can follow Hacks and Wonks on iTunes,  Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. Just type in "Hacks and  Wonks" into the search bar, be sure to subscribe to get our Friday  almost-live shows and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed.  You can also get a full text transcript of this episode and links to the  resources referenced during the show at and  in the podcast episode notes. Thanks for tuning in. Talk to you next  time.