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Bob Hasegawa announces campaign for Seattle mayor

The state senator’s platform calls for a municipal bank, public housing, and economic justice

Although news first broke on Monday, State Senator Bob Hasegawa officially announced Tuesday afternoon that he’s running for mayor.

“Our city has changed so much,” said Hasegawa in his campaign announcement. “We need to rebuild that sense of community where we have each others’ back.”

Hasegawa’s campaign is largely based on economic justice—one of his top campaign priorities, as has been one of his legislative priorities, is creating a publicly-owned municipal bank. So he fittingly made his official announcement outside of the Wells Fargo center downtown.

Economic justice and anti-corporatism are issues common to this year’s mayoral platforms. Nikkita Oliver’s party is literally called the Peoples Party—placing people over profits is part of the mission statement. Cary Moon put standing up to big corporations front-and-center in her announcement. Mike McGinn called for an end to regressive taxes right out the gate.

Housing affordability and homelessness are also both going to be key in this year’s race.

“Housing is number one,” said Hasegawa in his announcement. “We need to create housing for everyone in this city.”

In a media availability after his announcement, Hasegawa called for more investment in public housing rather than relying on incentive-based programs: “A developer’s not going to take a deal unless it’s a good deal for the developer.”

Public housing is also a strong part of Oliver’s housing affordability platform.

One major campaign roadblock: The State Legislature is currently in special session, and since it’s a budget year, it will likely go into a second special session. Hasegawa won’t be allowed to raise any money while the legislature in session, meaning he might not be able to collect a dime until the middle of this summer.

Hasegawa maintains that this could be an opportunity: “That’s gonna be the lesson of this campaign,” he told Crosscut on Monday. “You can’t just throw money at it and call it good.”