Let’s pretend we’re all single-issue voters. If you live downtown, in the U District, or anywhere in between, the most visibly pressing issue at the moment is homelessness. About 3,000 people live on Seattle’s streets. If you care about your neighborhood—including your homeless neighbors—this should be your single issue. And this issue needs a candidate who understands how poverty and housing work and a track record of solutions. Nicole Macri is that candidate. As the deputy director for the Downtown Emergency Services Center, she’s developed and supervised tools for moving high-needs homeless people into supportive housing. One example is 1811 Eastlake, an early example of the Housing First approach to homelessness. Macri is also the president of the Board of Directors of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, and has previously served on the Housing Levy Oversight Committee. “But, Seattle Weekly,” you ask, “what can the state do about homelessness? Isn’t that a local issue?” In fact, the state does a lot—for instance, it mandates that all counties conduct a One Night Count of homeless, providing crucial data. The state also runs the Housing Trust Fund and other funding sources for homelessness services. Macri says she wants to make it play an even bigger and bolder role. Because here’s the thing, single-issue reader: Homelessness is not a single issue. It’s inextricably tied to affordable housing, taxation and funding decisions, mental health, the War on Drugs, racism, and homophobia. These issues, all important in their own right, become even more critical in the context of a homelessness crisis, and they’re all issues that Macri has tangled with over two decades of administrative work and advocacy. Macri’s opponent, Daniel Shih, says all the right things. His policy positions are thoughtful and thorough. But the Eastlake plaintiff’s lawyer lacks experience moving the needle, citing as his bona fides an amicus brief filed with the state Supreme Court and a couple of board positions. In the face of a change agent like Macri, Shih comes off looking academic. And what we need—what the people living in tents all around the 43rd district need—is anything but academic.
Read the rest of Seattle Weekly’s endorsements for the 2016 general election here.