Magnolia activist Elizabeth Campbell is running for Seattle City Council District 7, and she says her longtime experience in Seattle is what will make her the best candidate for the position.

“I’m looking forward to making some personal growth with this campaign,” Campbell said.

Campbell is the founder of the Discovery Park Community Alliance and has been featured in the news for her multiple appeals in the city, including the recent Fort Lawton appeal, which was decided in favor of the city.

Campbell also ran for mayor in 2009.

Although some of her choices to appeal multiple projects in Magnolia and to pursue litigation after being dismissed are not popular, Campbell said she isn’t the person everyone paints her to be.

“I will go to bat for District 7,” she said. “I feel that the people are being sold out. The city has wasted our prosperity dividend and the city has foolishly spent our money.”

A life in Seattle politics

Campbell said her stint in Seattle politics started before she could vote.

Her family moved to Queen Anne when she was in the fourth grade.  Her family’s roots to Seattle go back two generations.

“My grandmother was active politically in Seattle,” Campbell said. “And my mother (Marilyn Rogers) was involved with the school district and the historical society.”

Campbell’s grandfather John Rogers (not the governor) owned The Rogers Company in Seattle and Tacoma where School Boy Peanut Butter used to be manufactured. Rogers also did work for the governor’s office, Campbell said.

“I remember being told how important it was to get an education from my grandmother at the age of four,” Campbell said. “My mother was involved with Seattle Schools and helped them form curriculum and pass levies. I remember going with my parents to vote.”

Campbell began writing editorials for her school newspaper before graduating from Queen Anne High School in 1970.

After working in offices for a while, Campbell received a technical degree in bookkeeping from Seattle Community College. She worked for $1.50 an hour before deciding to change her career path.

“I always chaffed under the idea of just being a secretary,” Campbell said. “I always loved building stuff as a kid so I looked for a job in construction.”

Campbell became one of the city’s first women carpentry apprentices, and soon started working for Wrights Construction, the company that built the Space Needle in Uptown.

Campbell met her husband Foster while working construction. After a clash between Campbell and some male coworkers left her feeling disrespected, she began working with her husband to help build nursing homes.

The couple built nursing homes in Washington, California, Nevada and Idaho. During some time in Tacoma building a nursing home, Campbell became involved with local unions fighting for minorities, including women and people of color, who wanted fair wages and more opportunities to work in the construction industry.

“I helped found the United Trade Workers Association,” Campbell said. “It was interesting work.”

Campbell moved back to Seattle in 1985, after the sudden death of her husband.

From there Campbell dove back into the politics of her home city and neighborhood.

She ran for the Seattle Public School in 1989 but lost to candidate Millie Russell.

Campbell also ran against Ray Moore in 1993; he resigned from his position in 1994 after it was discovered he no longer lived in his district, but on a coffee farm in Hawaii.

Campbell also worked for the Seattle Republican Party for a couple of years, and then served on the Queen Anne Community Council and the Queen Anne Historical Society.

“I honestly can admit I didn’t have the experience I wanted to have,” Campbell said. “I always felt like an outsider.”

Campbell decided to go back to school and attend classes at Shoreline Community College and the University of Washington. She graduated with her masters in public administration in 2011.

Immersed in Queen Anne

Campbell said she is still dedicated to her original Queen Anne causes, and will still pursue any litigation or appeals against the city despite her campaign.

Campbell’s appeal to the Seattle Hearing Examiner against the city’s final environmental impact statement for the Fort Lawton project was decided in favor of the city on Thursday, Nov. 29. Campbell said she would likely pursue litigation against the city regarding the Fort Lawton project, which is aiming to bring affordable housing to the Magnolia park in the near future.

Campbell also appealed a SEPA review regarding the expansion of tiny homes in the Interbay Village, the hearing examiner again siding with the city.

Campbell is the founder of Safe and Affordable Seattle and is in the beginning stages of forming an initiative campaign to repeal Seattle’s tax on sugary drinks.

Campbell said many people think she is against affordable housing and solutions to homelessness in Seattle. Instead, she said, she wants the city to find better solutions for the vulnerable.

“These (tiny homes) are cheap plywood sheds,” Campbell said. “These structures should not be legal for people to live in. The city has money, and it can do better.”

All of these things may seem controversial and could dampen her a campaign, but Campbell said this is her way of defending her neighbors and hopefully future constituents.

“Of course you want to win,” Campbell said. “But I want the city to be a nice place for everyone. I want a good quality of life for everyone and I hope to move the council to be nicer to residents. My motivation is not to just get into office … I’m doing what I believe in.”

Campbell said other candidates have youth on their side and will come to the table with new ideas, but her experience and background knowledge is what will make her the choice candidate for Seattle.

“I have history and knowledge, a virtue of living my life here,” Campbell said. “I’m 66 now, and there is a wisdom that comes with a long institutional memory. I’ve devoted my life to this neighborhood and city. There is no other place for me.”

Campbell’s main issues she’d like to tackle if elected would be the city’s budget, homelessness, transportation and making Seattle an “age-friendly” city, according to her website.